We live in a world where not just social media platforms but most digital platforms build their systems using algorithms. However, the consequences have not yet fully emerged. And as the famous quote from J.F Kennedy, “we often enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought”, I feel this is the best explanation of the current situation where we have ended up inside our bubbles in social media. Algorithms in social media platforms are like a black box, thus making it hard to have a clear picture of how algorithms are formalized and strictly restricted from having control. Throughout my thesis, I explored the concept of control and transparency with a pragmatic approach.
When today’s social media platforms are hardly giving you transparency and control, you begin to wonder why? This question then leads to what if. What if we could have full control of algorithms? And what if algorithms are openly presented?
ALG.O, shortened for algorithm ownership, is a new platform that gives users control of algorithms by being transparent. There are 3 different stages control appears in ALG.O which are, the onboarding, the home screen and the settings. The onboarding is a space to introduce users to set their own rules in the algorithm by providing answers to the presented questions. And these answers can be always accessible and editable under the settings page. The control visible in the home screen is the slider where users can choose how much of the recommended contents are catered for you based upon your onboarding answers or mixed with random contents which are contents that are not related to your actions and history. Moreover, ALG.O is transparent with its algorithms. ALG.O presents users how their algorithms are structured and information about why this content is recommended.