Apple News, the center of high-quality journalism for Apple users may be bias, in a weirdly unique way. A new report shows that Apple’s algorithm chooses stores from a very small pool of publications, versus human editors, additionally, the algorithm favors celebrities more, as The Guardian reports:
Jack Bandy and Nicholas Diakopoulos of Northwestern University in the US analysed Apple News over a two-month period from mid-March, collecting every headline published in two sections of the popular and influential news app: Top Stories, which contains content selected by a team of human editors employed by Apple; and Trending, which contains stories selected by the company’s proprietary algorithm.
Across more than 4,000 headlines, the algorithms selected far more stories, from a far more concentrated selection of publications, than the human editors. Nearly a third of all the “trending” stories came from just two outlets: CNN and Fox News. Adding in the next most favoured two, People magazine and BuzzFeed, accounted for half of the 3,144 headlines selected by algorithms.
In a potential show of political bias, human editors do not include Fox News, Buzzfeed, or People as often as the algorithm. On the flip side, the report says that this shows that the algorithm prefers choosing stories that contain words such as “Justin Bieber” and “Flordia Man” versus “Brexit deal” as an example.
The report highlights how such changes are a challenge for curated news apps by indirectly causing censorship. Apps may possibly accidentally censor repetitive stories that offer the same baseline, but different political interpretations. Apple News is not new to such accusations. Users often complain that the app and service push more right-wing stories and talking points instead of finding a delicate balance.