algorithmic timeline

From IndieWeb

Diesel Sweeties comic: Today's comic hates the algorithm

algorithmic timeline (sometimes non-chronological timeline) is a doublespeak phrase propagated by silos (and some popular media) to refer to social media algorithmic feed feature(s), as a timeline is "a display of a list of events in chronological order"[1], whereas silos now (since 2016+) use "timeline" to refer to often out of chronological order display of aggregations of following's posts which still presentationally resemble previous chronologically ordered displays.

It's doublespeak because people associate use of the term "timeline" with actual chronological order (see consistent examples on Wikipedia, definition etc.), and yet they are defining it to be something else instead ("relevance" etc.) that breaks chronological order, thus trying get people to accept a definition of contradictory opposites.

This appears to be a deliberate deception (lie) because what they used to call a timeline was chronologically ordered, and when they changed it to not be chronologically ordered, instead of explicitly switching to a new term like feed as in algorithmic feed, they explicitly chose to keep "timeline" and add the "algorithmic" qualifier to it:

  • 2017-03-05 Salon: Twitter’s New Order

    In February 2016, word leaked to BuzzFeed that Twitter was planning a move that would change everything. The company was introducing what insiders called an “algorithmic timeline.” It meant that tweets would no longer appear in the order they were posted.

Eventually Twitter went full doublethink and dropped the "algorithmic" qualifier entirely:

Media use

  • 2016-03-16 The Independent: Instagram update removes posted times from top of updates ahead of new algorithmic timeline

    Instagram said that it would be rolling out the non-chronological timeline to users in the coming weeks.

  • 2016-03-23 The Independent: Instagram's algorithmic timeline: We are angry ... but too lazy to take control

    Instagram's recent announcement that it plans to follow Facebook and Twitter's lead by shifting to an "algorithmic timeline" (in which you're more likely to see popular posts from your pals rather than everything in strict chronological order) has caused untold fury…


    Algorithmic timelines are easily characterised as evil.

    and yet:

    the former chief technical officer of Facebook, Bret Taylor, said of its shift to an algorithmic feed: "It was always the thing that people said that they didn't want, but demonstrated that they did by every conceivable metric."

Emphases added.

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