How Filter Bubbles Isolate You
When you go to a website, you may think you're getting the same content as everyone else, but almost anywhere you go online, algorithms will keep track of what you like to click on.
Those algorithms will give you content based on what they think you like, and they will continue to do so until they're mainly showing you content you'll likely consume.
When you first think about algorithms personalizing and curating your online experience, it can sound like a good thing. There is so much information online, and even if you had all the time in the world you, still couldn't consume it all.
Each of us has specific interests, so why not focus on content we'll probably like? The problem is that these algorithms can put you in
something called a Filter Bubble.
A term coined by internet activist Eli Pariser. Being in a Filter Bubble means that algorithms have isolated you from info and perspectives that you haven't already expressed an interest in, meaning you may miss out on important information.
For instance, a social media site may hide posts from friends with different viewpoints, or a news site may display articles that it thinks you'll agree with. You may not even realize you're in a filter bubble because these algorithms don't ask for your permission, tell you when they're active or say what they're keeping from you.
In fact, they've become a part of the Internet as a whole, and if you want to go online, avoiding them is almost impossible. Once everyone
gets stuck in their own bubble, the problem only gets worse. If everyone is confident they're getting the full story on a current event when they're really only getting part of it,
no one can make an educated judgement, and it becomes difficult to have a meaningful discussion about the facts. This is why filter bubbles contribute to a lack of understanding and an unwillingness to consider opposing viewpoints and unfavorable info. So how do we deal with these algorithms, especially since they're so common, and how do we make sure we're hearing other viewpoints when we don't even know what we're missing?
Companies like Google and Facebook are working on the problem, but for now there is no definitive solution. Until then, keep filter bubbles
in mind as you browse the Internet, and try to seek out new sources and perspectives.
Hopefully then you'll be able to take back some control of your online experience.