Interested in diversity: The role of user attitudes, algorithmic feedback loops, and policy in news personalization

B. Bodó, N. Helberger, S. Eskens, Judith Moeller

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Using survey evidence from the Netherlands, we explore the factors that influence news readers’ attitudes toward news personalization. We show that the value of personalization depends on commonly overlooked factors, such as concerns about a shared news sphere, and the depth and diversity of recommendations. However, these expectations are not universal. Younger, less educated users have little exposure to non-personalized news, and they also show little concern about diverse news recommendations. We discuss the policy implications of our findings. We show that quality news organizations that pursue reader loyalty and trust have a strong incentive to implement personalization algorithms that help them achieve these particular goals by taking into account diversity expecting user attitudes and providing high quality recommendations. Diversity-valuing news readers are thus well placed to be served by diversity-enhancing recommender algorithms. However, some users are in danger of being left out of this positive feedback loop. We make specific policy suggestions regarding how to address the issue of diversity-reducing feedback loops, and encourage the development of diversity-enhancing ones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-229
JournalDigital Journalism
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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