Friday, April 1, 2016

Are Social Media Sites to Blame for the Increase in Polarization?

The “filter bubble" takes place in my news and social network feeds everyday. I have the Bleacher Report app where I can narrow my sports news down to specific teams. You can narrow down the media you see into feed categories like Nebraska football, fantasy baseball, NFL injuries, and even NBA rumors. That’s right, you can be updated on the rumors of what is going on in the NBA. For the Bleacher Report app, filtering what sports teams you see makes complete sense. If you are a fan of Husker football, you probably don’t want to read about Iowa or Miami football. You control the filter with this app. If you want to see everything, you can. Social media outlets like Facebook, filter what to show you based on algorithms. The algorithms that Facebook uses are complicated and not much is known about what information is inputed into the algorithms. The algorithms most likely take your “likes” and “shares” into account to feed you media you will likely want to see. If you like posts that pertain to a certain political party, you will most likely have more media relating to that party, showing less of the other. This is the cause for the decline of dissoi logoi. 
I believe that the lack of internet based dissoi logoi is causing the increase in polarization. It is difficult to consider the other side of an issue if all you’re seeing is the media based around your own belief. People are being sucked up to two different sides, based on the filter of these algorithms. It’s almost like Facebook is trying to brain wash you into seeing what they want you to see. Facebook could use the algorithms to filter information to promote a certain political party. According to, 156.5 million people in the United States use Facebook. That is a large enough audience to sway a political elections. I’m not trying to raise a conspiracy theory that Facebook is politically obligated to filter certain information to promote candidates, but they could use the algorithms to filter information like that. In my opinion, the filters are partially responsible for the increase in polarization. 
I believe that the increase in polarization is problematic because once people choose a side on an issue, they usually only change their stance if they are heavily convinced that another ideology is better. With social media sites like Facebook filtering the information you see, you wont be shown any information that will cause you to consider the other side.The engagement of unfiltered dissoi logoi will cause polarization to decrease. To engage in unfiltered dissoi logoi you would have to communicate ideas on a social media platform that doesn't filter information using complicated algorithms or communicate the ol’ fashion way and meet with people in person. If you were curious about the opinions of another political party, you could go to a rally and speak with people who may have different beliefs than you. 
As internet based communication on sites that use filters increases, the polarization will do the same. Unfiltered dissoi logoi is the best way to combat the increasing polarization. Interpersonal communication is the best way to engage in dissoi logoi.

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