‘Networks that work too well’: intervening in algorithmic connections

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Within the emerging field of critical algorithm studies, this article theorises that forced connections happen when algorithms exacerbate human actions in connecting otherwise disparate data points on digitally networked platforms to the subject of the data’s detriment. Although social media users may not have a comprehensive understanding of how algorithms work to make some content visible, when users form their own explanatory theories about these algorithms, they often intervene in these connections. Drawing on Michel de Certeau’s notion of strategies as the manipulations in which platforms engage to profile and control their users, and tactics as everyday acts of resistance, this article investigates two tactics within algorithmic cultures – Voldemorting, or not mentioning words or names in order to avoid a forced connection; and screenshotting, or making content visible without sending its website traffic – to demonstrate users’ understandings of the algorithms that seek to connect individuals to other people, platforms, content and advertisers, and their efforts to wrest back control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-92
Number of pages12
JournalMedia International Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • algorithms
  • connections
  • networks
  • practices
  • Reddit
  • social media
  • strategies
  • tactics

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