Algorithms on Twitter are amplifying more conservative and right-wing content, according to an internal study.
In almost all the countries analyzed, the tweets of conservative politicians were amplified more than the tweets of liberal politicians, Twitter admitted.
Meanwhile, the right-wing media was also amplified for Twitter users more than the left-wing media.
Twitter users who choose to view content on their “home” page based on the platform’s algorithms, rather than reverse chronological order, see more political posts, according to the study.
Twitter says they will conduct a “root cause analysis” to find out why their algorithms are amplifying the content on the right.
Former US President Donald Trump has regularly accused Twitter of silencing voices on the right, but the internal study indicates that Republican content was promoted to users more than Democratic content.
Social media giants have previously been criticized by the left for not doing enough to combat misinformation.
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The report analyzed millions of tweets posted by elected officials in seven countries between April and August of last year.
Politicians from four European countries (France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom), as well as officials from Japan, Canada and the United States were evaluated.
Only Twitter users in Germany saw more content from left-wing sources than from right-wing sources.
Meanwhile, right-wing politicians in the UK were significantly more likely to have their tweets exposed to more users than left-wing politicians.
But Twitter claimed that the amplification was not based on specific parties, more on political points of view and issues.
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The researchers also looked at what political news content was being amplified and recommended to users by Twitter’s algorithms.
“We use third-party public sources, such as official institutional websites, to identify political party affiliation,” Twitter said in a blog post.
“We do not use the content of Tweets to attempt to infer the political views of elected officials.”
Rumman Chowdhury is Twitter’s chief machine learning ethics, transparency, and accountability director.
Rumman Chowdhury, Director of Software Engineering at Twitter, said algorithmic amplification could have an “adverse” effect.
“Algorithmic amplification is problematic if there is preferential treatment based on how the algorithm is built versus the interactions that people have with it,” he said in the blog post.
“A more detailed root cause analysis is required to determine what changes, if any, are required to reduce the adverse impacts of our startup timeline algorithm.”
Twitter has said it will make its research available to third parties, but not your “raw data” for privacy reasons.
“We believe it is critical to study the effects of machine learning on public conversation and share our findings publicly,” Twitter said.
“This effort is part of our ongoing work to analyze algorithms on a variety of topics,” the company added.
“We hope that by sharing this analysis today, we can help start a productive conversation with the wider research community to examine various hypotheses as to why, overall, we are seeing a comparatively more right-wing political amplification of content from elected officials on Twitter. “.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism