Should Social Media Companies Burst Filter Bubbles?
When I first enrolled in this course, I expected it was going to be a lighthearted course about how to use social media as a tool to do more than just share the funny things you find on the internet and share pictures of yourself. However, after last week’s class, I’ve become privy to the ways in which social media and the internet in general is not just a place to connect, but yet another place where you are vulnerable to being brainwashed and manipulated in a way similar to that of propaganda. Truly, I am not sure how I feel about this. Filter bubbles, a name that is not necessarily fitting with how scary the widespread existence of them have the potential of being, are ultimately useful as a marketing tool. Your previous internet searches, and all these other potential decision making aspects of you are tracked so that you can easily be led to products or a service that you are in the market for. However, what is becoming a problem is that filter bubbles do not just persuade you to consume products or tangible items, but now filter bubbles lead you to consume information. Information that will lead to you think or feel a certain way. So while it may be beneficial to businesses, the influence it is having on the way people think and the information they are consuming is, at least in my opinion, something that seems potentially dangerous.
It is unfortunate that the internet has the potential to feed us so much knowledge and could open up our minds so much but the filter bubbles effectively ruin the chance of this. With the distribution of knowledge on a platform that is literally at our fingertips, you think people would use it to search for all the knowledge they could get on a subject. However, people are simply satisfied with the news updates they receive from some uncreditable random on Facebook or Twitter. People really think that the news they receive from people’s Facebook statuses is the truth. We are so immersed in our world of social media that we think everything in it is the reality and the truth. I just think we cannot be satisfied with biased information or one-sided stories we are stuck in because of the filter bubbles. By allowing this to satisfy us and not searching for all of the facts and all of the information from the other side of the argument, we’re letting ourselves be manipulated to think a certain way, to be a certain way. It scares me to think that the filter bubble can just lead us to or take us away from the information that is accessible to us without us knowing it is even doing that. I’m a pretty avid social media user and I had no idea a filter bubble existed nor did I even know technology was that far advanced that it could do this kind of stuff. I am really glad I know that I am Those plots of sci-fi films of machines or robots taking over the world seem far-fetched, but honestly I don’t think it truly is. If the internet can control what we see, read, and hear, it controls what we consume and subsequently controls the decisions we make and what we believe is true.
Ethically, if I was in the shoes of someone who owned a social media company, I would definitely burst filter bubbles. I understand that it can be a useful marketing tool, but I do not think the repercussions it has on people’s beliefs and mindsets is worth it. I think it is so important that there is a uniformity in what people can access on the internet and that everyone can be exposed to things that are not necessarily what they want to see but what they need to see. Social media companies should be aware of how reliant people are on their social media platforms for news and information and that it has a very serious, very significant effect on people’s thoughts and ideas. It is a very big responsibility to have that control over people. I can only hope one day someone will be driven by their hope to help people see the truth, to help people expand their minds and bring different ideologies closer together by allowing everyone to see both sides of every store and all the pieces of the puzzle. I can only hope someone comes along like this, driven by something pure and not profit.