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The power of algorithms

Have you ever wondered why one result comes before another in a search? Or why your social network feed was arranged in that order?

At work are algorithms. To operate the service, they assess, according to more or less clear parameters, what needs to be highlighted. And this power to sort information is crucial: what displays after the first page is often ignored for lack of time. Of course it’s not deleted, of course whoever wants to find it will. But at the societal level, statistics matter. And statistics show that the first piece of information matters most.

Some information is downgraded for everyone, which is statistically similar to censorship, without really being censorship. Others are promoted for everyone, which is like propaganda, without really being propaganda either. Yet it amounts to manipulating information, which will influence public opinion and, in democracies, it is akin to manipulating nations.

These algorithms are controlled by private companies. Do they have the same interests as their users?

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