The Politics of Platforms, Algorithms, And Big Data

Recently my research has taken a turn towards understanding the algorithms that mediate our daily lives. Whether as a function of social networking feeds, ad engines, search engines, and the like, more and more of the the content we encounter and therefore the potential bounds of our knowledge are shaped by the algorithms that determine which information is relevant for us. In my work I seek to engage with end users to ask how they understand, negotiate, and resist algorithms.

I’m also interested in how the digital traces we leave behind on social media sites can be used to understand things about the world. As a privacy researcher, I am often interested in policy and the debate that surrounds legislation. I have turned to Twitter as one approach to understanding how people use communication technologies such as Twitter to organize events, control information flows, and generate interest in their respective causes. I have used Twitter to research such instances as the CISPA legislation and the #Lightsout incident at the 2013 Superbowl. Moving forward, I am interested in looking at Twitter’s trending topics.

(Image shared under Creative Commons License 2.0 Image attribution: User: ApolitikNow Image Title: apolotik_algorithm Image URL:


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