Medium Response #6 — Filtering
COMS490 Sp16


Filtering definitely impacts communicationa cross social movements.

I think that there is a good and a bad to online filtering. Some filtering is autonomous; for example, I choose what news networks to view and follow online. As individuals we decide what is important and revelant to us. Algorithmic filtering can absolutely be an example of how filtering can be beneficial. If a site’s algorithmic filtering set to promote and expand what the majority of people are talking about, it can be good. However, there are limits to this. Only hearing or viewing a majority opinion can cause polarization. The media can present a situation through their biased lens, then that bias can be increased and multiplied through networks.

In present day, most of us cannot escape the publications of major world events. Because of the popularity and speed of modern day communication pracitices via technology, I think that algorithmic filtering is absolutely a form of censorship. Sites such as Facebook have collected so much data on how to keep their users involved and interested, that they know exactly what to show to their users and when to show it. If a majority opinion had become favored and popularized, a site user will most likely not want opposing opinions popping up on their newsfeed. Many companied have invested millions of dollars in online user research to find what a user likes and what will interest them. We have no reason to think that sites that have the potential to filter news are any different.

In Tufecki’s article about algorithmic filtering, he says, “How the internet is run, governed and filtered is a human rights issue.” I agree with this statement. The only catch is that sites like Facebook are not, and should not be, controlled by the government. I think that the responsibilty falls upon the user. We are completely aware that these filtering mechanism are in use, so we should take responsibility and caution when consuming information that is found on these sites. Because of this, I am torn between thinking this is a human rights issue or not. The freedom of speech is alive and well on the Internet, but cencorship and selfish publicity for more hits and shares is not ethical.

Social movements have become increasing popular and powerful in today’s times. These social movements are more often than not created and implemented by young people, and I think it is no coincidence that the most active online users are young people. This is a powerful phenomenon, but I think that we as the young need to be aware, cautious, and overall knowledgeable about the topics we are discussing. We need to retian and control this power instead of letting online filtering mechanisms control us and our movements.

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