open-source marketplace for people to upload content filtering algorithms
see your feed from the perspective of an influencer
feed from the perspective of Kamala Harris
filter by specific algorithms for learning, verified, virality, and more!
feed that is filtering tweets related to learning about 'GME'
This past year, we've seen the effects of uncontrolled algorithmic amplification on society. From widespread riot-inciting misinformation on Facebook to the explosive growth of TikTok - a platform that serves content entirely on a black-box algorithm, we've reached a point where social media algorithms rule how we see the world - and it seems like we've lost our individual ability to control these incredibly intricate systems.
From a consumer's perspective, it's difficult to tell what your social media feed prioritizes – sometimes, it shows you content related to products you might have searched the internet for; other times, you might see eerily accurate friend recommendations. If you've watched The Social Dilemma, you might think that your Facebook feed is managed directly by Mark Zuckerberg & his three dials: engagement, growth, and revenue
The bottom line: we need significant innovation around the algorithms that power our digital lives.
Feeds: an Open-Sourced App Store for Algorithmic Choice
On Feeds, you're in control over what information is prioritized. You're no longer bound to a hyper-personalized engine designed to maximize your engagement: instead, you have the ability to set your own utility function & design your own feed.
How we built it
We built Feeds on a React Native frontend & serverless Google Cloud Functions backend! Our app pulls data live from Twitter using Twint (an open-source Twitter OSINT tool). To prototype our algorithms, we employed a variety of techniques to prioritize different emotions & content –
- "Positivity" - optimized for positive & optimistic content (powered by OpenAI)
- "Virality" - optimized for viral content (powered by Twint)
- "Controversy" - optimized for controversial content (powered by Textblob/NLTK)
- "Verified" - optimized for high-quality & verified content
- "Learning" - optimized for educational content
Additionally, to add to the ability to break out of your own echo chamber, we added a feature that puts you into the social media feed of influencers – so if you want to see exactly what Elon Musk or Vice President Kamala Harris sees on Twitter, you can switch to those Feeds with just a tap!
Challenges we ran into
Twitter's hardly a developer-friendly platform - scraping Tweets to use for our prototype was probably one of our most challenging tasks! We also ran into many algorithmic design choices (e.g. how to detect "controversy") - and drew inspiration from a variety of resource papers & open-source projects.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We built a functioning full-stack product over the course of ~10 hours - and we truly believe this emphasis on algorithmic choice is one critical component to the future of social media!
What we learned
We learned a lot about natural language processing & the different challenges when it comes to designing algorithms using cutting-edge tools like GPT-3!
What's next for Feeds
We'd love to turn this into an open-sourced platform that plugs into different content sources -- and allows anyone (any developer) to create a custom Feed & share it with the world!