News Recommendation Systems in the Era of Information Overload

  • Shuaishuai Feng School of Sociology, Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei, China
  • Junyan Meng School of Sociology, Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei, China
  • Jiaxing Zhang The Institute of Social Development Studies, Wuhan University, China; Shenzhen Qianhai Siwei Innovation Technology Ltd. Co., Shenzhen, China
Keywords: Information overload, internet news, recommendation systems, User-CF, Item-CF, reflection on technology


The internet has reconstructed information boundaries in the modern world, and along with mobile internet has become the most important source of information for the public. Simultaneously, the internet has brought humanity into an era of information overload. In response to this information overload, recommendation systems backed by big data and smart algorithms have become highly popular on information platforms on the internet. There have already been many studies that attempted to improve and upgrade recommendation algorithms from a technical perspective, but the field lacks a comprehensive reflection on news recommendation algorithms. In our study, we summarize the principles and characteristics of current news recommendation algorithms and discuss “unexpected consequences” that might arise from these algorithms. In particular, technical bottlenecks include cold starts and data sparsity, and moral bottlenecks are presented in the form of information imbalance and manipulation. These problems may cause new recommendation systems to become a “warped mirror”.


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Author Biographies

Shuaishuai Feng, School of Sociology, Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei, China

Shuaishuai Feng is a PhD candidate in sociology at Wuhan University. Now he is a researcher member of the Institute of Social Development Studies, Wuhan University, China. Shuaishuai Feng received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in sociology from Northwest A&F University and Wuhan University respectively. His current focus is on computational social science research.

Junyan Meng, School of Sociology, Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei, China

Junyan Meng is a doctoral candidate in the School of Social Sciences, Wuhan University, graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism and communication from the School of Public Administration, Hohai University, and his main research direction is communication sociology.

Jiaxing Zhang, The Institute of Social Development Studies, Wuhan University, China; Shenzhen Qianhai Siwei Innovation Technology Ltd. Co., Shenzhen, China

Jiaxing Zhang attended the Wuhan University where she received her B.Sc. in Software Engineering in 2009. She then went on to pursuit a M.Sc. in software Engineering from Wuhan University, China in 2011. After that, she got a M.Sc. in Digital Media from Wuhan University, China in 2013. Jiaxing Zhang has held solution and software engineering senior positions at Shenzhen since 2014. And she got some awards from some other research institutes in her research areas. Her Ph.D. work centers on Block Chain Technology and Social Governance.


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