„Algorithmed Public Spheres“

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Hans Bredow Institute

The Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg, Germany, is a publicly funded research institute that focuses on the study of mediated public communication. Its research encompasses both broadcast and digital communication from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. The postdoctoral research network Algorithmed Public Spheres was established to study the relevance of algorithms for the constitution of the public sphere. We emphasize in particular the importance of algorithms for filtering, ranking and selecting media content and for structuring digital communication. In contrast to the use of data mining in areas such as healthcare, credit scoring and general business analytics, where such techniques have a long tradition, the impact of algorithms on the public sphere poses novel challenges. How are communication, media, and public discourse impacted by transferring the dominant logics of consumption from other industries to news, information, and political deliberation, implemented in social media platforms, search engines, and on news websites? Research in this area could include:

  • Measurement of algorithmic bias and discrimination
  • Feedback effects in recommender systems
  • Assessment of potential filter bubbles
  • Algorithms in news production, distribution and consumption processes
  • User interaction with and rationalization of algorithms