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Rhythmedia: A Study of Facebook Immune System

Carmi, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-1108-2075 (2020). Rhythmedia: A Study of Facebook Immune System. Theory, Culture & Society, 37(5), pp. 119-138. doi: 10.1177/0263276420917466


This paper examines the politics behind algorithmic ordering in social media, focusing on the advertising logic behind them. This is explored through a practice I call rhythmedia – the way media companies render people, objects and their relations as rhythms and (re)order them for economic purposes. As a case study I examine the way the Facebook Immune System algorithm orchestrates people’s mediated experience towards a desired rhythm (sociality) while filtering out problematic rhythms (spam). This anti-spam algorithm shows that it is important for Facebook to understand people as rhythms and assemble a dynamic database from their mediated experiences, to convince advertisers that they know when and where people do things. People’s rhythms become a product that advertisers pay and bid for through Ad Auction to intervene in specific moments and shape people’s experience. Thus, the company can shape, manage, and filter specific rhythms to order sociality that brings more value.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2020, the author.
Publisher Keywords: digital advertising, Facebook, processed listening, real-time, rhythm, rhythmedia
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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