Internet users may fail to recognize how algorithms filter and personalize information. Two studies explored college students’ algorithm awareness across varying contexts. Study 1 examined Facebook users’ awareness of its algorithms (N = 222). Only about half recognized that Facebook does not show all their friends’ posts. These students more often reported making adjustments to News Feed settings than students lacking algorithm awareness. Study 2 compared students’ (N = 244) algorithm awareness for online shopping and search, and the efficacy of video instruction to increase awareness. Students were more algorithm aware for online shopping. Compared to those who watched a video on Internet storage, students who watched a video on Internet algorithms showed greater understanding of how search results are personalized. Across studies, students demonstrated high media literacy knowledge, yet knowledge was inconsistently related to algorithm awareness. This suggests the need to incorporate instruction about algorithms into media literacy curricula.
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Brodsky, J. E., Zomberg, D., Powers, K. L., & Brooks, P. J. (2020). Assessing and fostering college students’ algorithm awareness across online contexts. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 12(3), 43-57. https://doi.org/10.23860/JMLE-2020-12-3-5