Monday, April 3, 2017

The Effect of the "Filter Bubble" on Politics in Social Media

   Image result for filter bubble         Social media sites are breeding grounds for uncensored and unregulated posts regarding important political issues and significant events in our cultures history. Websites like Facebook are popular among millions looking towards connecting to people online with similar values. People are friended for many reasons, possibly because they have a mutual friend, the people could be acquaintances, coworkers, etc. However a prominent reason people are being unfriended online is because of the increase in online political rants and ideological wars on controversial topics faced today. Social media is a commonplace for freedom of speech and expression; these virtual grounds possess easy gateways for fake news outlets, and algorithmic advertising to promote false or biased articles towards the users. In order for “us” to better understand our personal values and stances on these issues; we unknowingly filter out the viewpoints and posts of the opposition.
            The process above is known as the “filter bubble” that everyone possesses when identifying rhetoric. It’s the person’s way of self-organizing and making judgements on topics that the public’s divided on; therefore an individual will primarily refute or entirely ignore opposing viewpoints. A “filter bubble” is common on on websites like Facebook, because the users have full control of the people they friend and the pages they like. This all leads to profiles that are individually tailored towards these users, which removes nearly all opposing ideologies because people don’t normally want to follow news sources that they disagree with. The “filter bubble” many people have unknowingly is the cause for the rapid spread and popularity among fake news sources. With a dominant political group on a user’s timeline, it would be easy to influence an individual to believe fake stories and negative articles on the opposite political party.Image result for political divide
            Speaking from my personal experience on websites like Facebook, I’m exposed to the political wars between friends and political advertisements labeled on the side of my laptop. The approach to these topics that I try my best to utilize is avoiding the conflicts as much as possible. I do not post my feelings towards specific candidates or organizations, regardless of my opinion on them. In order to fight this “filter bubble” I believe it’s necessary to filter out ALL the negative aspects of political campaigns online. Posting a political rant on sites like Facebook only adds fuel to the inevitable fire which is the controversy surrounding the government. In my opinion status’ and posts are great for organizing peaceful protests and finding friends with similar values; however I believe it’s more harmful as it leads to negative comment wars and in-fighting between Facebook users. The important question to ask before posting a political rant on social media is, is it really worth it? Are you trying to seek attention? In my experience looking at both the two major party (Democrat & Republican) supporters online post negative comments towards the other side, never actually achieves anything, nor does it lead to positive criticism. Only comment wars and frustrated people on both sides of the spectrum; therefore I try my best to encourage others not to post about political criticism.            

            The “filter bubble” is found NOT online, but rather inside ourselves because we only pay attention to the stories and news that we WANT to hear. That’s why it’s important to maintain friendships with people who may have different political ideologies than oneself. It’s dangerous to our culture, the sense of unity which we share as Americans and us as individuals. How could we expect to become less politically intolerant? If all we do is identify and search for one side of the political spectrum. The “filter bubble” is growing and it’s up us as a society to stress the importance of political knowledge and tolerance. 

Here are a few links regarding the importance of popping this "Filter Bubble"

Here's a link to an interesting Ted talk about the dangers of being in a "Filter Bubble" by Eli Pariser

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