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Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, CSCW2(4), p. 1-24, 2020

DOI: 10.1145/3415192



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Middle-Aged Video Consumers' Beliefs About Algorithmic Recommendations on YouTube

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This paper is available in a repository.

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User beliefs about algorithmic systems are constantly co-produced through user interaction and the complex socio-technical systems that generate recommendations. Identifying these beliefs is crucial because they influence how users interact with recommendation algorithms. With no prior work on user beliefs of algorithmic video recommendations, practitioners lack relevant knowledge to improve the user experience of such systems. To address this problem, we conducted semi-structured interviews with middle-aged YouTube video consumers to analyze their user beliefs about the video recommendation system. Our analysis revealed different factors that users believe influence their recommendations. Based on these factors, we identified four groups of user beliefs: Previous Actions, Social Media, Recommender System, and Company Policy. Additionally, we propose a framework to distinguish the four main actors that users believe influence their video recommendations: the current user, other users, the algorithm, and the organization. This framework provides a new lens to explore design suggestions based on the agency of these four actors. It also exposes a novel aspect previously unexplored: the effect of corporate decisions on the interaction with algorithmic recommendations. While we found that users are aware of the existence of the recommendation system on YouTube, we show that their understanding of this system is limited.