September 28, 2020

Conference Paper: “Auditing News Curation Systems: A Case Study Examining Algorithmic and Editorial Logic in Apple News” (Preprint)

The following conference paper (preprint) was recently shared on arXiv.

Title

Auditing News Curation Systems: A Case Study Examining Algorithmic and Editorial Logic in Apple News

Authors

Jack Bandy
Northwestern University

Nicholas Diakopoulos
Northwestern University

Source

via arxiv

To Appear in Proceedings of the Fourteenth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM 2020)

Abstract

This work presents an audit study of Apple News as a sociotechnical news curation system that exercises gatekeeping power in the media. We examine the mechanisms behind Apple News as well as the content presented in the app, outlining the social, political, and economic implications of both aspects. We focus on the Trending Stories section, which is algorithmically curated, and the Top Stories section, which is human-curated. Results from a crowdsourced audit showed minimal content personalization in the Trending Stories section, and a sock-puppet audit showed no locationbased content adaptation. Finally, we perform an extended two-month data collection to compare the human-curated Top Stories section with the algorithmically-curated Trending Stories section. Within these two sections, human curation outperformed algorithmic curation in several measures of source diversity, concentration, and evenness. Furthermore, algorithmic curation featured more “soft news” about celebrities and entertainment, while editorial curation featured more news about policy and international events. To our knowledge, this study provides the first data-backed characterization of Apple News in the United States.

Direct to Full Text Paper (Preprint)
12 pages; PDF.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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