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Filter bubbles? Also protector bubbles! Folk theories of Zhihu algorithms among Chinese gay men

Zhao, Longxuan (2023) Filter bubbles? Also protector bubbles! Folk theories of Zhihu algorithms among Chinese gay men. Social Media and Society, 9 (2). ISSN 2056-3051

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Identification Number: 10.1177/20563051231168647

Abstract

In light of the awareness that we know little about how algorithms are perceived by groups other than those in the mainstream, this study investigates how Chinese gay men on Zhihu generate folk theories of the operation and impact of the platform algorithms. After recruiting 16 long-term users on Zhihu as informants and conducting thematic analysis, two overarching themes are identified: (1) the algorithm as evictor, supported by the users’ folk theories of sidelining, disorganizing, and defaming; and (2) the algorithm as protector, supported by the users’ folk theories of shielding, recognizing, and exclusive networks. Based on the empirical data collected, this study provides inspiration for understanding algorithmic complexity, and challenges the mainstream appeal to break through filter bubbles (information cocoons) by indicating its (hetero)normativity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2023.
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 12 May 2023 14:12
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2024 19:21
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/119191

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