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Goodnight Ninja? Knuffle Blobfish? Children's Books Get the Algorithm Treatment


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Epic found children preferred pizza to cake.

The online children's book platform Epic has collected a trove of anonymous, aggregated data on its readers' preferences and habits.

Credit: iStock

The online children's book platform Epic has collected a trove of data on reader preferences and habits, which is anonymous and aggregated, and uses it customize to reading recommendations and guide the creation of new titles.

Epic's online subscription children's book service is free to schools, and doubled its reach during the pandemic to 50 million children globally.

Epic knows how many children read a book, how long they engage with it, when their interest lags, and more. It also tracks reader preferences, finding that children on its site, for instance, like owls more than chickens and unicorns more than mermaids.

Although watchdog groups are concerned about Epic's privacy disclosures and the fact that it collects data on children, Epic's Kevin Donahue said the platform does not show third-party ads or use student information for advertising or marketing, and it protects data using industry-standard encryption technology.

From The Wall Street Journal
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