The Algorithmic Bias of Social Media
Keywords:algorithm, Instagram, creators, political economy, participatory culture
Social media apps like YouTube and Instagram came as platforms that allowed users to express themselves freely to their friends and families, but corporations changed social media down to its core. Due to the rising popularity of short video-based content on TikTok, platforms like Instagram introduced similar content to capitalize on the hype that TikTok created. In doing so, Instagram made changes to the content promotion algorithm to promote “Reels” over the other content options. Driven by profits the company stopped caring about their users, leading to backlash from the community. Creators on the platform started playing a visibility game (Cotter, 2019) to grow and be seen in user feeds, the “game” pushes them to make content they would not be making in the first place and following trends. In this paper I am looking at the case of a creator in the photography community affected by these changes in algorithm and analyzing the situation through a critical media theory framework. The study discusses the practices of the platform and the effects on the creator community while also looking at resistance from users. I also discuss a new potential alternative platform to Instagram for photographers, that markets itself as a platform built without an algorithm, for a community.
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