Monday, April 3, 2017

Filter Bubbles Refuse to be Popped

People naturally like to be right, whether that includes opinions about social issues, politics, economic crises, family, faith, or anything in between. Filter bubbles are, at first, very enticing because they are like an invisible support group for that certain person. Let's say we have two very different people when it comes to politics, one left-leaning and one right. If the left-leaning individual types in "abortion" they are most likely going to get very different search results than the right-leaning individual. This is because of algorithms within search engines or social media platforms (like Facebook) that specifically cater to what someone wants to see based on their previous searched, interests, or click-behavior. Basically a filter bubble is like the mom from "Mean Girls"... it just tells you what you want to hear all the time.

Personally, I think that filter bubbles are very accurate and prominent all over the Internet. I will admit that I lean far to the left politically, so I am sure my search results would pertain to my beliefs. To test this out, I Googled "gay marriage." Let me just say, there wasn't a Fox news article in sight. The top two articles were from and talking about support groups and legalization in Argentina. (I included a screenshot of my search in this post below.) I also clicked the "image" tab, which was filled with rainbows and smiles (oh my goodness, another "Mean Girls" reference on total accident.) There was not a hurtful or derogative message towards people in the LGBTQ community throughout the entire page.

Being from Elkhorn, I am surrounded by many people who do not share my same views, which is fine. However, some members of my family and past classmates have very different opinions and express them very openly on Twitter and Facebook. I do, in fact, notice things I don't agree with on Twitter and Facebook, but only because the people I follow have shared them. When I scroll through a stream of "recommended videos" I never encounter these videos. I have never actually noticed this happened until now, to be honest. 

I don't necessarily follow or unfollow people based on their viewpoints because I'm not just going to unfriend half of my family due to these reasons. I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however if there is excessive sharing involving topics I do not agree with, I will put their account on mute. That way, I can "politely" ignore everything they say without them knowing I am tuning them out...kind of like a husband to his wife on a Husker game day. I think because of filter bubbles, individuals do not get as upset with social media as they would without them. This is because people are stubborn, and they typically only want to see certain topics and news articles that support their beliefs. Normal people don't log onto Facebook or Twitter to get upset or watch videos/read news they don't agree with. Because of this, the traffic on social media sites stays high, which is good for the given platform. That is why I don't see the "filter bubble" popping anytime soon. The Internet and filter bubbles let people have their cake and eat it too. 


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