Pierre-Olivier Carles

April 1, 2021

Algorithms are a plague

Most Social Media platforms' algorithms work the same way.

They try to give users the content they will like so users stay longer on the platform and get exposed to more advertising.

The way they define is some content is good or bad for you is based on people you follow and posts you engage with.

(It's actually a bit more complicated than that, but if I want to keep it simple, that's the bottom line.)

Why is it a HUGE problem?


Let's say you're are not sure if you should get the vaccine or pass. You will turn to the Internet, the news, and social media content to learn more about it.

You will probably engage with people sharing similar views.

The algorithm will then start serving you more anti-vaccine content.

After a while, you will see so much of it that you will start believing that it's a massive trend most people agree with.

It's not.

You will be bombarded with content the algorithm "thinks you will like."
And, of course, such a tremendous amount of content will end up convincing you that you would not get the shot because "Everybody says it's dangerous."

That's how conspiracy theories thrive on the Internet.

But there's more and not the right kind.

Because of that, millions of people won't get their shot, fed by pseudo-science articles shared by like-minded communities... and many will end up dying because of that.

You read me right, and it's not a shortcut:
Algorithms are and will be contributing - not directly, of course - to killing people.

Massively. Thousands of them.

I know I'm a social media marketer, and my agency - among other things - game the algorithms to give more exposure and reach to our clients. That's what we do.

But I'm not spitting in my food with that post.
We could do the same if the algorithms were not biased, not to say totally fucked up.

I started working with the Internet in 1996.

Back in the day, everything was simpler. I truly dreamt then that the Internet could fix some massive issues we were facing as a species, such as universal access to better education regardless of your location or the money you have.

It did not really happen, and Internet didn't have the positive impact on the social ladder I was hoping for.

And now it's worse:
The Internet is the prominent place that contributes to bullying, harassing, hurting, and killing people because false information is spreading faster than legit ones... and it's terribly wrong.

Social Media companies have a critical responsibility for that.

It's not about regulating free speech; They have to be accountable for what they have created to maximize their advertising revenue stream.

I believe that now is time for healthier social media... or even no social media at all if we can't fix that situation.

About Pierre-Olivier Carles

De mon parcours fait d’entreprises, d’investissements, de succès et d’erreurs, je tire des pensées personnelles que je partage ici, en français maintenant. Documenter ce voyage peut en inspirer d’autres, mais, à vrai dire, c’est d’abord à moi que cela apporte quelque chose.