How to Survive in the Age of Algorithms on Social Media (and Why You Should Try)

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Photo: Tada Images (Shutterstock) – It’s been said that if something is free, then you are the product. There is no cost to use TikTok, Twitter, or any of the other social media networks, except for the fact that they know everything about you. This data collecting technique relies in part on algorithms that select what kind of information to display you depending on your previous use. Do not make their data collection simpler for them; avoid the algorithms at all costs.

Every day, new social media algorithm changes appear. Your data is analyzed, and stuff that it believes you’ll be interested in is served to you. When you engage with a piece of information, you’re teaching the algorithm how to better serve your needs in the future. Aside from keeping you interested in an app or service for longer durations, algorithms assist social media businesses better understand your preferences.

Companies do develop profiles of its users based on information that is willingly supplied, such as the accounts you follow, information you publish, and places you disclose. Serving you personalized information is a great approach to learn more about your interests and preferences. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of having these algorithms learn everything about my preferences and characteristics. To me, it’s worth taking a stand whenever possible. The following are some locations to start:

The algorithm’s presumptions should not be confirmed

Instead of letting you discover the things you enjoy on your own, it’s normal practice for social media networks to propose material to you. YouTube’s homepage is filled with recommendations based on your previous viewing habits. However, it may keep you on the site longer than you meant. There’s always something else to watch, after all.

When you view a video on YouTube or engage with a post on Instagram’s Explore page, you are reinforcing the algorithm’s beliefs about you, not simply the amount of time you spend there. It uses that information to build a more complete picture of you. To make matters worse, whatever action you take on a piece of recommended material will be tracked much more closely than normal.

What’s my recommendation? When at all possible, avoid engaging with the recommended information. Instead, look for what you’re looking for. If you come across anything intriguing in the suggested content, you can always go in and actively search for it and view it from that point. Even if you ignore the algorithm’s recommendations, it will continue to learn from your actions.

When at all feasible, do away with recommended feeds

Therein lies our next topic. Make sure your feeds are sorted chronologically rather than based on which articles are most relevant to you. Don’t overtrain the platform’s algorithm, as was the case earlier. It’s easier for a social media site to figure out what you’re interested in if you’re constantly looking at and interacting with information.

Of course, this sort of feed isn’t available on every social networking site. It’s no secret that TikTok uses an algorithm to choose what material to show you. If that doesn’t work, you may limit your video viewing to to those from accounts you follow by using the “Following” option instead. Even while TikTok’s algorithm does the sorting, it gives you a little more control over the process.

Instead of the algorithmically controlled “Home” feed, both Facebook and Twitter allow you to filter by most recent postings. For the time being, Instagram does not have a chronological feed, but that will change soon enough. Rather than depending on Meta to decide which of your followers’ posts you should see first, when it happens, use it instead.

When feasible, choose systems that don’t need a username and password

This is another another piece of advise that is subject to change based on the platform’s specific configuration and features. Don’t reveal your identity to the social media network in question if you can. Among the most obvious examples would be using an incognito tab on YouTube without worrying about your watch history, as YouTube would not be able to link your behavior to your Google Account if you did so.

Without an account, you can still browse Reddit, but you won’t be able to comment or vote on anything, and you won’t be able to subscribe to your own feed of posts. However, if you already know what communities you want to visit, or if you’re comfortable with Reddit’s settings, surfing signed out works just fine.

You may also use this method when you don’t want to train the algorithm with stuff you don’t like, such as when a buddy sends you humorous videos or posts. The more you do this, the more likely it is that your TikTok stream will get overrun with other people’s jokes and hobbies.

In certain circumstances, it is difficult to access these services without a social network account. Without an account, it’s almost impossible to use Facebook or Twitter, and Instagram constantly prompts you to sign in after seeing a few posts when you’re not signed in.

In these cases, a better option may be:.

Make use of an alias

There is no need to be concerned about the parent firms of these platforms establishing an accurate picture of yourself when you are using a “fake” account with no personal information on it. The fact that these firms are still following your every move on their platforms doesn’t mean they can’t figure out who you are if you don’t provide them with basic information like your name, email, birth date, and so on.

Because of this, you miss out on some of the more social features of social media sites like Reddit and Instagram when you use a burner on them. As long as you’re not too bothered by the possibility of being followed, burner accounts might be a fun way to pass the time.