Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Effect of the Filter Bubble

Since moving to Lincoln, Nebraska for college from a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, my outlook on social media posts as a whole has changed immensely. I have recently noticed in the past couple months that my multiple media outlets have been tailored to my specific location and activities. My Facebook, Twitter, even Spotify ads have focused on the events and people based out of Arizona. The advertisements that play on my music streaming websites endorse the events going on in the Phoenix area: haunted houses, concerts, local businesses. The posts I see on Facebook are specifically tailored to show me the posts of my high school friends and family members. I am constantly "liking" and commenting on their posts and pictures, keeping tabs with them and showing my interest in their posts. This, in turn, has caused more of their posts and less of others' posts to show up on my newsfeed. This phenomenon has been coined as the "Filter Bubble" by the internet activist Eli Pariser.

Pariser explains the filter bubble as "being surrounded by only people you like and content that you agree with." This has all begun to happen due to the increase of websites using an algorithm to filter out the information or content that they do not think their users want to see. Pariser mentions in his TedTalk on the topic that a website has at least twenty seven tell-tale signals that they use to filter this algorithm, even if a user is not logged into an account. This can be anything from the type of computer you are using, to the type of internet signal you are using to access the site. In this article from MIT's Technology Review, the authors explain that because the algorithm is changing their search results based on the interests of the users, "they are more satisfied with them results." Many people have argued that the downfall to this algorithm system is that people are no longer experiencing differing opinions to their own, they are no longer being challenged while searching the web. The scientists at MIT argue that "challenging people with new ideas makes them generally more receptive to change." The use of the algorithm system, or filter bubble, limits the amount of differing ideas that internet users have to a certain topic, thus making them almost one-sided to a certain topic.

The filter bubble has taken a direct toll on my internet experience. I am not viewing the advertisements and posts from around Lincoln or in Nebraska. This limits my view of the new area that I am living in and limits my experiences.

No comments:

Post a Comment