A Half-Day Workshop

Submissions (2 pages) due March 31

The International Conference of Web Logs and Social Media is hosting the “Algorithm Audits” workshop on the first day of the main conference (May 26-29, 2015) in Oxford, UK.

An emerging area of research we call “algorithm auditing” allows researchers, designers, and users new ways to understand the algorithms that increasingly shape our online life. This research investigates algorithms “from the outside,” testing them for problems and harms without the cooperation of online platform providers. So far, researchers have investigated the systems that handle recommendations, prices, news, commenting, and search, examining them for individually and societally undesirable consequences such as racism or fraud. In this workshop we treat this new area as a development of the traditional social science technique—the audit study—that creates new ways of investigating the function and relevance of algorithms. Through a cumulative set of activities designed by a group of multidisciplinary organizers, participants will create, document, trick, interrogate, and propose revisions to social media and other algorithms, leaving the attendees with an appreciation of both the ethical and methodological challenges of studying networked information algorithms, as well as a chance for the development of new research designs and agendas to guide future work in this area.

This workshop will gather new and established researchers to:

  1. Conceptualize the main research areas involved in “algorithm auditing”,
  2. Discover areas that would benefit from algorithm audits,
  3. Propose novel algorithm audit approaches to investigate algorithmic process “from the outside”, i.e., without access to the algorithm or process,
  4. Discuss the ethical challenges inherent in algorithm audits,
  5. Participate in stimulating discussion.

We are requesting submissions (2 pages long, in any format) that:

  1. Describe a research problem or perplexing algorithmic scenario (visuals, i.e. images, storyboards, video are encouraged),
  2. Suggest an intervention/solution/amelioration/clarification to the proposed problem/scenario,
  3. State three goals that should be discussed in the workshop.

Please submit your 2-page problem statement to algo.audits@gmail.com by March 31, 2015 (11:59pm AOE).

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