Major social media companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Netflix, monitor their websites continuously. They monitor what a user watches, likes,and dislikes. These companies will use this information to steer you towards links, videos and pitcures you want to see. Google, Instagram, and many more social media networks use a system called a “Filter Bubble.” This was created to save the user time, access information quicker, bypass all unwanted information he or she did not find useful, and suggest other subjects that might seem appealing to the user.
Why Filter Bubbles are bad.
Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.Org, gave a speech on TED Talk about the negavite effects caused by Filter Bubbles. Eli explained his idea of the internet, “It meant a connection to the world. It meant something that would connect us all together. And I was sure that it was going to be great for democracy and for our society.” Today the internet closes the user off from the rest of the world. If new types of information is not seen, then how can we become connected. Eli explained that “Gate Keepers” controled the flow of information. In the past, before the Internet, journalist from major Newspaper companies were Gate Keepers, today they are algorithmic. Computers coded to process what information gets viewed on your screen.
If you go on Facebook and only search soccer videos and watch only soccer videos. Then your filter bubble will only share soccer videos with you. The “Gate Keeper” will suggests just soccer videos. It will decide to not show you a news article about war in foreign countries, or political issues going on in your country, guides to eating healthy or exercises for staying fit and active. Doug Gross, a journalist for CNN who wrote an article about the Filter Bubble and Eli Pariser’s opinion on it, wrote “Sometimes the unexpected, serendipitous articles or discoveries are some of the very best moments when you learn about some whole new process or way of thinking or topic.” You will never be introduced to new things, becoming very close minded and one-dimensional. The internet was created to outsource all information, so that everyone could know about everything, not just soccer videos.
A Positive Spin
The Filter Bubble can be used in a postive way. Many of these websites, ignore a preference button. If a user was allowed to choose weather an article/picture/video was of use, then they would be in control, allowing new and interesting information to come through. Instead of an algorithmic machine allowing what it considers appropriate. Once that button is created, then the internet can connect us all like Eli invisoned it to.