Mass media communications theory

  • Origins in social psychology
  • Gatekeeper makes decisions about what should be passed on and to whom
  • A form of social control

Digital gate keeping

  • Platforms gate keep by managing information flows in many different ways
  • Non-human agents participate through algorithmic filtering (e.g. upvoting content)
  • See centralization of Internet through search

Differences from censorship

  • Censorship is all about blocking
  • Gate keeping is more about access and quality control

Personalization as a form of gatekeeping

  • Information flow and filtering is based on individual and/or group profiles
  • Bozdag (2013): personalization leads to more bias rather than less
  • Cass Sunstein: “information cocoons”
  • Serves a sort of invisible auto propaganda, indoctrinating us with our own ideas, amplifying our desire for things that are familiar

Potential dangers of personal software