The role of algorithms in boosting conspiracy theories and radicalisation has been brought into sharp focus over the past year. In Amazon’s Algorithms, Conspiracy Theories and Extremist Literature, ISD Analyst Elise Thomas uses Amazon’s book sales platform to reveal how such problems with algorithmic recommendation extend far beyond social media platforms.
ISD’s Chloe Colliver spoke extensively to USA Today about the implications of the research, and how the type of false information recommended by Amazon’s algorithms has been shown across the globe to contribute to real-world harms.
In a statement to USA TODAY, Amazon said: “We take concerns from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue seriously and are committed to providing a positive experience for our customers. Similar to other stores that sell books, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints and our shopping and discovery tools are not designed to generate results oriented to a specific point of view.”