When Algorithms Cheat, who checks them? 

Amazon Says It Puts Customers First. But Its Pricing Algorithm Doesn’t.

Buy Box

Unseen and almost wholly unregulated, algorithms play an increasingly important role in broad swaths of American life.

Buy Box Gif ProPublica report on Amazon

Through its rankings and algorithm, Amazon is quietly reshaping online commerce almost as dramatically as it reshaped offline commerce when it burst onto the scene more than 20 years ago.

Source: Amazon Says It Puts Customers First. But Its Pricing Algorithm Doesn’t. | ProPublica

+Commentary: This is a must read for anyone who has a small business and has considered selling things through Amazon, both the pros/cons of it. Despite having launched their “services” marketplace last year, it hasn’t made any big splash yet. It was a pilot program, and as such sought to install itself into the paradigm shifts in the same way it did by selling others goods. Which as featured in this article above was strategic.

If algorithms play such a central role in our online experiences, especially in the user interaction portion, by selecting that which you think is the best deal; or in the case of social media those things that are tailored for your attention, when or how do we get to interrogate those processes, or think critically about them.

For many social media users and online shoppers the goal of the teams that design them is to make things instinctual, but if the undergirdings are at times completely rigged in favor of things you aren’t even remotely aware of, then how does this impact your brand trust?

Most users won’t notice, or will not do their due diligence, because they’ve been operating from an established relationship, however isn’t it wise for us to collectively stop and ask these important questions?

Let us know in the comments below if you have noticed this sort of manipulation on other commerce sites, or even in your social media feeds.