Imran Ahmed (Founder and CEO, Center for Countering Digital Hate) describes research on how quickly social media platform algorithms can exploit youth vulnerabilities and serve dangerous content at #AskTheExperts webinar “Algorithms 101: Youth and AI-Driven Tech” on November 15, 2023.

[Imran Ahmed] We did a study a couple of – no a year ago called “Deadly by Design,” in which we studied setting up accounts of 13 year-old girls in TikTok in four different countries at CCDH. And then we recorded what content they served up. A brand new account – no information beyond that – it’s a 13 year old girl – within 2.6 minutes? Suicide content. Within 8 minutes? Eating disorder content every 39 seconds on average. And here’s what was really pernicious. We named half the accounts with a normal girl’s name, like “Susan,” we named the other half with a name like “Susan Lose Weight” to give it an indication that there was something psychologically there. Those vulnerable accounts got 12 times the malignant content of the other accounts. So the platform recognizes vulnerability. The algorithms are sophisticated enough based on so much data that they’ve captured from billions of interactions, that they know that those people will be triggered and will be addicted to that kind of content.

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Ask the Experts—Webinar

Algorithms 101: Youth and AI-Driven Tech

What can families do about the growing influence of algorithmically-delivered content on youth’s development, preferences, and minds?

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Emerging Technology
Ethical Design
Social Media