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The Internet Trap$
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Matthew Hindman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159263

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159263.001.0001

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The Political Economy of Personalization

The Political Economy of Personalization

(p.38) 3 The Political Economy of Personalization
The Internet Trap

Matthew Hindman

Princeton University Press

This chapter offers both a more detailed examination of the principles behind the recommendation systems and examines the comparative impact of these technologies across media organizations. Recommender systems research has changed dramatically over the past decade, but little of this new knowledge has filtered into research on web traffic, online news, or the future of journalism. Scholarship to date has focused on the impact of these technologies for an individual web user or an adopting media firm. But there has been little exploration of the wholesale effects of these changes not only within news and media organizations, but also with regard to competition between them. In addition, this chapter takes a detailed look at the Netflix Prize—a contest with surprising lessons even for those who do not care about movies. As it turns out, the task of recommending the right movie is similar to recommending almost anything—predicting which songs users like, which ads they prefer, which news stories they engage with.

Keywords:   recommendation systems, media organizations, recommender systems, Netflix Prize, journalism, web traffic, online news

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