Because SocialMedia? companies generate income from advertisements, the only thing that matters to them in the AttentionEconomy? is your fastidious engagement. Eyes and ears glued to whatever they emit, so they can insert ads and monetize how advertisers influence you.
In order to keep your engagement up, with so many data points of what others find engaging, these platforms can shape your experience of the world entirely to what they think will keep you coming back.
The Algorithm tracks what you like, reply to, watch, comment on, subscribe to; crosses that with your demographic data to build a persona; and based on what others with a similar persona like and engages with, recommends related content. Well, in theory.
Quite often The Algorithm does the dumbest thing possible. What's really popular right now?
And while The Algorithm is effective at keeping people come back, it results in a far less rich information diet than when one could blissfully wander down the aisle of a library or book store to see what the world had to offer; or flip channels on TV to see new things; or even just surf GeoCities? to find random odds and ends of the Internet.
One of the biggest problems of The Algorithm is that it polarizes society politically. People truly have totally different understandings of reality, because all of reality is mediated, and the media is different, shows different AlternativeFact?s, opinions, and completely omits differing ideas creating an EchoChamber?.
God help us all when ArtificialIntelligence can detect our mood and offer us exactly what we need to comply with optimum consumer / productive / compliance objectives.