The Curious Case Of Social Media Algorithms: Do They Influence Your Decision-Making Abilities?


There has been much debate about the influence social media has on our own lives. On one hand, people love using it and finding everything they are looking for. On the other hand, many people feel as if social media controls their lives.

Of course, there is some truth in these statements as these platforms are algorithm-driven and they help us find things based on what we already like (our data). These algorithms are always fighting for our attention by recommending us engaging content.

Does this affect your ability to make decisions in real life? Let’s find out.

Manipulation By An Algorithm

We are easily manipulated and we don’t even realise it. The motive of all these platforms and tech companies is to make revenue. They make this by persuading us to buy things through advertisements.

Algorithms used by these platforms are made to help companies achieve this outcome by showing us what we want. It shows us what we want through our actions. How much we scroll, what pages we visit, what we like, etc.

This is a recipe for their success and inevitably our doom. Apart from that, these platforms are designed to manipulate us into spending more on websites such as Amazon. These designs are made to affect our subconscious minds.

Profiling And Prediction

By now we all know that these companies track our data. Even Facebook was under fire for this in the Cambridge Analytics case. Everything about us is being stored and used to determine our psychology and predict future behaviour.

There has been research done on how accurate an algorithm is in making predictions about our data. One study showed that these algorithms can even predict your behaviour through the behaviour of your friend’s data online. It has a 95% potentially accurate rate.

This is how smart and accurate these algorithms are and so do they ultimately affect our decisions?

Do You Make Your Own Decisions?

Yes and no. Not everyone is influenced by social media tactics. Many people are also aware of this and they actively don’t fall for it. However, algorithms are also responsible for spreading a lot of misinformation that can affect people’s emotions and decisions.

We know the algorithms as well and we manipulate them too. For example, content creators also manipulate these algorithms to promote their content across many platforms.

In the end, social media is being used by people and it is a two-way street. We are just as smart as the algorithms and we know how to manipulate them as well to our own advantage.

Of course, there is a much bigger picture than this and more research needs to be done on this. Do remember that while social media has the power to control you and influence your decisions, you can take that power away anytime.

You have to consciously use social media so that it doesn’t affect your decision-making abilities. So, take your power back and don’t let algorithms manipulate you.