Why not just leave feeds unfiltered? This would of course be simpler, but patently unprofitable. If you were a social media company, you need to monetise that enormous audience. For the average user with a few hundred feeds followed, even if each one posts only once a day and each image is viewed for say five seconds – that’s an hour a day or more of browsing. This gets boring if there isn’t enough new content or there’s too much new content; but to maximise viewing time, the system must try to automatically curate a mix of things you want to see from people you know; things for you to discover; and things that are revenue-generating, preferably related to things you are interested in so that you don’t skip past the ads and subtle attempts for the bearded out of focus cats to take over the world.
The scariest part of all is most people don’t even realise any of this is happening: possibly even those running the systems. We are in the middle of a very strange sort of natural selection that’s trying to curate in favour of creativity and “being different”, but in actual fact is doing the completely homogenous opposite. There is no inspiration from ‘something different’ if all of the ‘something different’ is the same something! It seems we can’t fight it; we just have to play the game if we want to survive.
Social media algorithms are limiting creativity and subliminally controlling your world view – Ming Thein | Photographer —