29 min

5. The Vortex The Gatekeepers

    • Technology

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One of the strange things about our new media universe, is how innocuous decisions taken in Silicon Valley - turning a dial, or adding a few lines of code to increase engagement - can change your life.
In 2016, Instagram introduced a new way of looking at content: the non-chronological feed.
Now, instead of seeing what your friends were posting in the order they were posting it, an algorithm brought you stuff based on search history, likes, and interactions.
That’s how tech engineers saw things back then - not just at Instagram, but at Pinterest, and other platforms too - if you engage with something, that must mean you want more of it.
Ian Russell believes that this algorithmic change may have altered the course of his 14 year old daughter Molly's life.
Presenter: Jamie Bartlett
Producer: Caitlin Smith
Sound Design: Eloise Whitmore
Composer: Jeremy Warmsley
Story Consultant: Kirsty Williams
Execuitve Producer: Peter McManus
Commissioner: Dan Clarke
A BBC Scotland Production for Radio 4.
Archive: 'Instagram implements big changes to users' feed, ditches chronologixal content' DT Daily; March 16th 2016. US Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Nov 7th 2023
If you are suffering distress or despair and need support, including urgent support, a list of organisations that can help is available at bbc.co.uk/actionline.
New episodes released on Mondays. If you’re in the UK, listen to the latest episodes of The Gatekeepers, first on BBC Sounds: bbc.in/3Ui661u

One of the strange things about our new media universe, is how innocuous decisions taken in Silicon Valley - turning a dial, or adding a few lines of code to increase engagement - can change your life.
In 2016, Instagram introduced a new way of looking at content: the non-chronological feed.
Now, instead of seeing what your friends were posting in the order they were posting it, an algorithm brought you stuff based on search history, likes, and interactions.
That’s how tech engineers saw things back then - not just at Instagram, but at Pinterest, and other platforms too - if you engage with something, that must mean you want more of it.
Ian Russell believes that this algorithmic change may have altered the course of his 14 year old daughter Molly's life.
Presenter: Jamie Bartlett
Producer: Caitlin Smith
Sound Design: Eloise Whitmore
Composer: Jeremy Warmsley
Story Consultant: Kirsty Williams
Execuitve Producer: Peter McManus
Commissioner: Dan Clarke
A BBC Scotland Production for Radio 4.
Archive: 'Instagram implements big changes to users' feed, ditches chronologixal content' DT Daily; March 16th 2016. US Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Nov 7th 2023
If you are suffering distress or despair and need support, including urgent support, a list of organisations that can help is available at bbc.co.uk/actionline.
New episodes released on Mondays. If you’re in the UK, listen to the latest episodes of The Gatekeepers, first on BBC Sounds: bbc.in/3Ui661u

29 min

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