Julia Janssen — Why :i:like Green
Facebook's algorithm tells me I'm interested in things like museums, sportswear and technology, prefectures of Japan, mathematics, and the color green. The platform detects very particular aspects of my personality, but is it this who I am? And if so, how do they know? Would you like to get to know me as well as Facebook does? Let's play a game with lots of data they collect about me, from all over the world wide web…
In our physical world, we understand identity. We know when to be a friend or lover, a professional or student, a parent, or a child. We intuitively change roles. In a digital environment, we don’t control our identity in that same way. Instead, who we are online is determined by companies and institutions – composed of data and calculated by algorithms.
Every click, like, buy, chat, and view, is embedded into a profile. A profile that doesn’t merely describe your interest, preferences, conditions, obligations, desires, and weaknesses – It influences your perception of the world because companies decide what types of advertisements, products, or information is most suitable for you, based on that data.
They construct your identity to understand how to get (or hold) your attention, make you click on an ad, or slightly alter your thoughts. How they build that profile: What data they use and combine, where that data comes from, and how the algorithm processes the information remains secret.
Facebook thinks to know that I like green. Let’s find out why – and play a game with what they know about me.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we couldn’t organize the game version of this project during this year’s Dutch Design Week. Nevertheless, you can explore what Facebook does know about me and why they think I like green. I was honored to participate in multiple talk shows to share my work and research: