Beware Online “Filter Bubbles”

As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy

Below is the video where Eli Praiser does just that:

“Filter bubbles” are both convenient and terrifying.

Firstly, they allow for a number of things:

  1. Allow those searching the web to have a faster and more efficient research experience.
  2. Provides readers with information that is relevant to them without persistently searching and searching, page after page for what they are placing in a search engine.
  3. It’s simply amazing that the internet has advanced enough to customize searches for the millions of people who use it.
However, it is also a scary thing to think that I could type in a top news story as someone in my class types up the same thing and we both get completely different results. We are both disadvantaged by the potential information that the other was neglected the privilege of viewing.
Filtered Searches
  1. Restricts the content a viewer engages with
  2. We don’t get exposed to information that could broaden our world views
  3. We are held captive to only the information that the internet has deemed relevant to our interests
I suppose all three of these points are interconnected. Overall, I believe the most important lesson to take away from this video is that we must not mindlessly rely on the information search engines provide us.
Yes, the internet is a powerful source of information. However, without keeping a critical evaluation of what we allow ourselves to read and deem true, we will slowly allow the internet to shape our morals and values. This is probably the scariest result of our dependence on the internet alone.
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2 Comments

  1. I found this video very interesting. I was not aware of how skewed our interest searched can be. It is actually very scary to think that we believe that we are getting good, sounds information that may not be. To me this emphasized the importance of having educational resources like scholarly journals as references for papers. Good post!

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