Data Donation: Auditing Socially Relevant Algorithms

17 December 2017 - A Other on Other in Geneva, Switzerland


Organization: Algorithm Watch

Title: Data donation: auditing socially relevant algorithms


Do we live in different worlds, when we search for political topics online? Germany had a general election in autumn 2017 and facts and figures about digital dissemination of knowledge – or disinformation- and potential manipulation mechanisms that may affect individuals therein are scarce. This is in contrast to those spheres in our well-established newspaper and magazine landscape. Algorithm Watch has set up the "Datenspende Bundestagswahl 2017” a project aiming to provide both for facts and figures – as well as for tools for anyone also wanting to produce their own analysis. Moreover, the harvested data is also public and can be analyzed by anyone. The project was funded by a consortium of German media authorities and is supported by SpiegelOnline as our media partner. (

The project is a proof-of-concept showing that society is actually able to audit socially relevant algorithms by combining the efforts of individuals - both as data donors and data analysts. This principle might be transferrable to audit other social networks.

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