False Information — Fake News & Filter Bubbles

Freedom is an important thing, especially when it comes to the internet. Unfortunately, we don’t completely have it. Any person who actively uses the internet whether it be Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc, will experience the filter bubble. Google and Facebook are heavy users of filter bubbles showing you advertisements and posts based on your most popular searches which are recorded using cookies. The filter bubble is caused by an algorithm that puts the user in a state of intellectual isolation in which only biased information and opinions that conform with your own beliefs are shown, either through advertisements, pop-ups or google searches themselves. This filter bubble also influences fake news, targeted political advertising and content manipulation which is a problem especially when it comes to politics.

Eli Pariser, an internet activist claims in his TED talk that the internet was initially a tool designed to bring us together and keep us informed about the world around us, but now has taken a turn for the worst and instead is causing a division, due to filter bubbles. Pariser also conveys that there is no longer a standard google but a tweaked one designed to suit a specific user. Filter bubbles are a huge threat to people when it comes to politics, the manipulation of political content can alter a person’s way of seeing things such as the government and can also cause the person to blindly follow something that has been tampered with. This is a problem when it comes to things like voting, political affairs and elections as exposure to one-sided biased content can lead to the misrepresentation of the opposition. Even if the filter bubbles only show you what you want to see, it shuts you off from open-minded debates that may change your stand point. Founder of Microsoft Gill Gates shares his thought on the filter bubble saying it “lets you go off with like-minded people, so you’re not mixing, sharing and understanding each other’s points of views”

The manipulation and instigation of fake news can have an extremely dangerous impact and really brings about a negative impact on the online society and the general society as whole as they falsely represent people, races, groups etc, especially when concerning popular political figures. For example, in 2016, a presidential candidate of the USA, Hillary Clinton was falsely accused of participating in the pizzagate child-trafficking sex ring by politician Andrew Scheer which ultimately impacted her ability to run as a candidate. Andrew Scheer not only accused Hillary Clinton but also tied Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the pizzagate conspiracy theory. Even though the accusations by Scheer were proven to be false and incorrect both of these accusations convey how the spread of fake news can change the course of presidential election and make political figures look bad.

Ultimately, the use of filter bubbles, fake news and content manipulation can hugely impact the audience’s perspective of political affairs. As this continues it influences journalists and reports to further conduct false news reports that add to the problem.