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Q: What are we supposed to do when algorithms hide important news from us?

A:

The first step is to realize that an algorithm is determining what news you see (and what you don’t). That is true on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google News, Apple News, Google search and many other news websites. Simply being aware that what you see is different from what other people see is half the battle.

As for the other half: Diversifying your news sources will help. Don’t rely solely on social media to get your news. Go directly to news websites or news apps. Regularly visit multiple news organizations’ sites. Smaller sites that focus on original reporting (such as your local news outlets) are less likely to have sophisticated algorithms than large news aggregators such as Google, Yahoo, MSN or Apple News. 

When searching for news, go incognito. That means choosing a “private” setting on your browser (Command + Shift + n on Chrome) to search without the browser storing your information. (This can be useful for other searches, too, not just news.) Going incognito doesn’t make your searches completely private, but it does stop the browser from collecting cookies and some other data. 

Finally, the best way to outsmart the algorithms may be to avoid them altogether. Watch a news broadcast on TV. Buy a newspaper. Or better yet, subscribe to the hard copy of a newspaper and page through it every morning as you sip your coffee. You’ll get your news without filtering from algorithms and support journalism, too.