Profit Based information landscapes are debilitating for their inhabitants

Recommendation systems for social media content which optimize for engagement, profit, and other narrow metrics might have stumbled upon altering user behavior as an unintended means to increase performance. Even if content is generated by users, subtly nudging its propagation changes the user’s view of the world. Crucially, when compounded in a recurrent manner, as consumers are also creators, this can have large effects, swaying public opinion and encouraging mindless behavior.