Algorithms: what are they? What can they do?

At its most basic, an algorithm is a procedure to solve a problem. A computer program can be a procedure to solve a problem expressed in a computer language. On many social media and digital commerce sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and on and on), algorithms control how users experience the sites–what they see, the options they are offered, who they communicate…

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Online extremism: the dangers and the psychology

**for the most current version of this bibliography, see — https://sciencebibliographies.strategian.com/online-extremism-the-dangers-and-the-psychology/ Online extremism–through social media and other channels–is real and is very dangerous. The events of January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere in the United States show that plainly. We must all be better, more critical users of social media–if you choose to use social media. The overriding motivation of Facebook, Twitter, Google,…

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder–an update

An update to the Generalized Anxiety Disorder–a sign of the times bibliography … Featured articles (these articles have been added to the Bibliography and to the Science Primary Literature database): *Carl, E., Witcraft, S. M., Kauffman, B. Y., Gillespie, E. M., Becker, E. S., Cuijpers, P., . . . Powers, M. B. (2020). Psychological and pharmacological treatments for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): A meta-analysis of…

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How and why does false information spread online?

How does false information/”fake news” spread through social media and web sites? And, why does it? We are told–frequently–by legitimate, trusted sources and the very people and organizations who create disinformation that a significant proportion of what we view is fake and has been deliberately created to sow discord and distrust, to make us not believe and to tear us apart. So, do we trust…

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Technology will not protect us from human weakness–and can make it worse

“When we think about misinformation … we tend to focus on the presence of bad information — but really we should be focusing on the presence of doubt.” “A platform like YouTube or Facebook can claim to be building a “marketplace of ideas” by algorithmically presenting, say, a story about a new vaccine alongside a story claiming vaccines are dangerous. But what it is really…

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Is Facebook hazardous to our well-being?

Is use of Facebook (and other social media sites) a genuine hazard to our physical and mental health? Are the purported benefits of digital social media outweighed by the risks? Past research has found negatives and some positives. “Prior research has shown that the use of social media may detract from face-to-face relationships, reduce investment in meaningful activities, increase sedentary behavior by encouraging more screen…

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