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Researchers at the Centre for Social Informatics published an article in the journal Information, Communication & Society

Andraž Petrovčič, PhD, Bianca Reisdorf, PhD, Vasja Vehovar, PhD, and Jošt Bartol published an original research article titled “Disentangling the role of algorithm awareness and knowledge in digital inequalities: an empirical validation of an explanatory model” in Information, Communication & Society, a top-tier journal in the field of communication and Internet studies.

Algorithms play an important role in many Internet-related services, such as selecting web content, customising adverts, planning routes and much more. Their use is so widespread that Internet users sometimes don't even notice them; in particular, low-skilled and narrow users who are more exposed to digital inequalities. This can represent a big challenge for digital inclusion, as algorithms can still influence how we interact with the Internet and thus indirectly shape our understanding of information online and offline.

In the present study, the authors thus investigated the relationships between digital inequalities and awareness and knowledge of algorithms. They hypothesised that individual’s ubiquity of Internet access and Internet skills increase both algorithm awareness and knowledge, which together lead to broader Internet uses and, in turn, more positive Internet outcomes. Based on these considerations, a conceptual model was developed and tested on a representative sample (N = 802) of Internet users aged 18 years or older from Slovenia. The model, estimated by using structural equation modelling, confirmed most of the hypotheses and showed that algorithm awareness and knowledge play an important role in digital engagement. The results of this study thus suggest that to reduce digital inequalities, we must also address the gaps in awareness and knowledge of algorithms online.

The study was conducted as part of by research projects J5-2558 (The Implications of Proxy Internet Use for the Internet Skills of Older Adults) V5-2275 (Digital Inequalities and Older Adults in Slovenia), and BI-US/22-24-055 (Digital Inclusion and Longevity Society in the Post-Pandemic Era), research programme P5-0399 (Internet research), and Jošt Bartol's Young Researcher fellowship.


Back to list of notificationsPublished: 14. June 2024 | Category: News, Publications