Scholarship Reporter Newsletter

May 2017

Exposure Diversity as a Design Principle for Recommender Systems

Some argue that algorithmic filtering and adaption of online content to personal preferences and interests is often associated with a decrease in the diversity of information to which users are exposed. Notwithstanding the question of whether these claims are correct, this paper discusses whether and how recommendations can also be designed to stimulate more diverse exposure to information and to discourage potential “filter bubbles” rather than create them. Combining insights from democratic theory, computer science, and law, the authors suggest design principles and explore the potential and possible limits of “diversity sensitive design.”

Abstract: Personalized recommendations in search engines, social media and also in more traditional media increasingly raise concerns over potentially negative consequences for diversity and the quality of public discourse. The algorithmic filtering and adaption of online content to personal preferences and interests is often associated with a decrease in the diversity of information to which users are exposed. Notwithstanding the question of whether these claims are correct or not, this article discusses whether and how recommendations can also be designed to stimulate more diverse exposure to information and to break potential ‘filter bubbles’ rather than create them. Combining insights from democratic theory, computer science and law, the article makes suggestions for design principles and explores the potential and possible limits of ‘diversity sensitive design’.

"Exposure Diversity as a Design Principle for Recommender Systems" by N. Helberger, K. Karpinnen & L. D’Acunto Information, Communication and Society Journal (December 2016)