Sharing Is Caring: The Epistemic Responsibilities of Social Media Services
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Social media corporations intervene increasingly often on their services on epistemic grounds. This thesis aims to establish the grounds for such interventions by answering the question: what are the epistemic responsibilities of social media services? The work takes a systems-oriented social epistemological approach, focusing on contemporary social media services (SMS): content-driven services predominantly curated by means of attention-maximising algorithmic recommender systems. Arguing that the responsibilities of SMS are dependent on the epistemic effects that these services might have, considerable space is devoted to studying these effects: new accounts are developed of the role of SMS in the spread of fake news, the radicalising effects of YouTube rabbit holes, and the promotion of echo chambers on SMS. It is concluded that if social media services are to retain their societal role, they must assume substantial epistemic responsibilities in order to ensure the epistemic beneficence of the environments they offer.