My News Feed is Filtered? Awareness of news personalization among college students

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Digital Journalism Vol. 0 , Iss. 0,0

Personalization algorithms, widely used by digital media sources, filter and prioritize news in ways that may not be apparent to users. Savvy media consumers should be aware of how this technology is used to tailor news to their tastes. This two-part study examines the extent to which US college students are aware of news personalization, and the actions and criteria that affect news selection and prioritization. Interviews with one set of students (N = 37) focus on the news sources they use most often to begin a news search. A subsequent survey given to a second set of students (N = 147) focuses on Google and Facebook, two influential gatekeepers. Results show that students are largely unaware of whether and how news sources track user data and apply editorial judgments to deliver personalized results. These studies identify aspects of news personalization that warrant greater attention in college curricula.

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