Zeynep Tufekci’s recent post breaks down Twitter’s plan to “tweak” the chronological ordering of posts that the micro-blogging platform had always previously employed. Tufekci uses the recent examples of Ferguson in the United States and the ALS ice bucket challenge to highlight the issues that can arise from a curated system, like the one Facebook currently employs.
“I also recently wrote about how #Ferguson surfaced on Twitter while it remained buried, at least for me, in curated Facebook—as many others noted, Facebook was awash with the Ice Bucket Challenge instead, which invites likes and provides videos and tagging of others; just the things an algorithm would value. This isn’t a judgement of the value of the ALS challenge but a clear example of how algorithms work—and don’t work.”
Tufekci writes that while the reverse chronology may not always be perfect, that it still allows for the “human judgement of the flock” to decide what information is the most deserving of attention.