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How algorithms make cancel culture worse – Source

“Cancel culture” has become so pervasive that even former president Barack Obama has weighed in on the phenomenon, describing it as an overly judgmental approach to activism that does little to bring about change.

Out of millions of tweets, posts, videos, and articles, social media users can be exposed to only a handful. So platforms write algorithms that curate news feeds to maximize engagement; social media companies, after all, want you to spend as much time on their platforms as possible.

Outrage is the perfect negative emotion to attract attention and engagement—and algorithms are primed to pounce. One person tweeting her outrage would normally fall largely on deaf ears. But if that one person is able to attract enough initial engagement, algorithms will extend that individual’s reach by promoting it to like-minded individuals. A snowball effect occurs, creating a feedback loop that amplifies the outrage.

Often, this outrage can lack context or be misleading. But that can…

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