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Who Controls our News Feeds?

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Last week, I watched this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_942GMxf98) on the vlogbrothers’s channel. I think it’s valuable and interesting to watch, as we consider the time of “fake news” and ideas of media consumption and it’s immediacy. Hank discusses the idea of personalized news feeds and how the way we use apps, specifically Facebook, have become information and entertainment feeds. These feeds can even become the only source of news that some rely on. But how did the articles/photos get there, what determines that? Hank goes on to explain that our profiles and data have and can be used to create profiles on individuals on the platform. This can then create individualized news outlets, stories, etc. that can show up on feeds that exploit fears and anxieties about specific current events. In a way, the feeds can essentially dictate your thoughts.  These controversies are not illegal because of the lack of laws that control companies like them, but it is part of the reason that Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress. The information on their users become the most valuable asset.

This video it encourages a more conscious consumption of our media. The things that we see are tailored to our tastes in a way, so to become a more ethical media consumer, you might want to look outside your main feed. I think it is easy to fall into a trap of seeing an article that aligns with a single viewpoint that we might have and then sharing it or taking it as truth, without reading the whole article, looking at the outlet, or finding other pieces on the same story. To get a little more control on our situation, we might need to take more time to analyze our media. It’s extra work, but it will probably be worth it. Any ideas how to get control back?

4 comments

  1. Ahaha! This is on par with my mid-essay crisis.
    To answer your question- i don’t think there is a way we can get back in control but there are ways to be skeptical of everything you read and to do research beyond JUST that article. Likewise- always remember to have an open mind. It allows you to see both viewpoints, even if they’re inaccurate, in the way they were meant to be… and then make an analysis on the information you read.

  2. I agree with Katie; since there is so much information out there, it becomes hard to see that is true and what is inaccurate. As she said, keep an open mind in order to see both view points.

  3. It is true! There is so much information out there, its hard to figure out what is true and what is fake! One thing that drives me crazy about my feed is I will google a pair of shoes or something I want to get, then IT SHOWS UP ALL OVER MY FB FEED!! I was trying to talk myself out of buying the shoes FB and now you’re making me want them even more! I think there are ways to control this and ‘get control back’ but exactly like you said, its time consuming.

  4. So this is definitely John Greens brother, right? I always struggle with the ads showing up on my Instagram feed moments after I was looking at a dress I shouldn’t even be considering. It only gets me mad because it starts to clutter my feed. I don’t want to see those adds in my feed. I go to Instagram to view other things not to see the dress I’m trying to convince myself not to buy.

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