WATCH — How do social media algorithms work?

Saara Chaudry
Story by Saara Chaudry and CBC Kids News • 2021-09-24 13:00

You may think you’re in control of your feed, but you aren’t

You don’t have to be in advanced math for algorithms to have an impact on your life.

In simple terms, an algorithm is the set of instructions that determines how your computer software behaves.

On social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, the algorithm determines which posts you see and in what order.

It also decides which posts you don’t see.

So, while you may think you’re getting an unfiltered view of the world when you scroll, in fact, your social media experience is being carefully curated.

How does the algorithm decide what content to put in front of you?

Well, it wants to serve you posts that will keep you engaged, and experts say that isn’t always a good thing.

Click play to hear CBC Kids News contributor Saara Chaudry explain, in three minutes or less.

And watch to the end for tips on beating the algorithm!

Looking for more tips on consuming, creating or sharing digital content?

Check out some of Saara’s other videos:

Have more questions? We'll look into it for you. Email us at cbckidsnews@cbc.ca.


TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Graphic design by Philip Street/CBC

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About the Contributor

Saara Chaudry
Saara Chaudry
CBC Kids News Contributor
Saara is passionate about having a positive impact on the world, whether it's within her community, on the big screen, or in her role as a CBC Kids News contributor. The grade 12 student from Toronto played Little Cosette in Les Miserables, Howie on Max & Shred, Dana's older sister on Dino Dana, and Martina Crowe on The Mysterious Benedict Society. Outside of film and media, Saara is an award-winning international debater and public speaker. She is the current Ontario Debate and Public Speaking Champion. She is also a vociferous advocate for gender and racial equality, as well as girls' education. Saara was recently appointed a UNICEF Canada Youth Advocate in 2020.

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