Filter Bubbles

After watching Eli Pariser’s discussion on “filter bubbles”, it made me open my eyes to the things that the internet filters out. He begins by talking about how we all thought that the internet was the greatest creation when it first evolved. Everyone believed that it opened the doors of communication and those “gates” that were once put up were now taken down. I can honestly say that for the longest time, I have felt this way. It is always so easy to communicate with others and search things instantly. What we didn’t realize however, is that the internet has been filtering the things we search. Pariser mentions that on his Facebook he talks to both Liberal’s and Conservatives. One day he realized that all of the Conservative posts were deleted from his news feed. The reason for this was, he was responding more to the liberal’s so Facebook felt it was appropriate to delete the Conservatives posts. Without permission, warning, anything, the posts were gone in the blink of an eye. 

The scary thing is, that the internet has a bunch of signals that are here filtering your search results. They can signal where you are, what type of computer your using, where your sitting, etc. Scary right? With all these signals, the search results that we are getting are differing from those in a different location, using different computers, different everything. Eli Pariser discovered this when he asked a couple of his friends to google Egypt. When one friend got completely different results than another friend, these “filter bubbles” turned out to be true. I’m half tempted to try this search with my friends to see what differences we come up with in our search engines.

This filtering, it’s not just happening with Facebook or Google if that’s what your led to believe. It’s happening with all sites on the web. Our results are changing and what we thought was the greatest creation, evolution, and opportunity for us is now causing us to second guess. 

Pariser goes on to talk about how we were so excited that these gates of communication were now open, but the truth is, these little gate keepers have just gone from human to algorithmic. What the ideal thing would be is to have a blend of results. For example, a little bit of vegetable here and then a little bit of desert here. Whats happening though is that if were searching just “desert” the web is now filtering out those vegetables, and only giving us the desert. Now this is just one example, but you can get the idea.

If we don’t have the blend that is expected from the availability of the web, then isn’t all that greatness we expected from the creation gone? The “gates” we had before the web are still there, they’ve just changed their “Style”. 


4 responses to “Filter Bubbles

  1. I absolutely agree with you that the “gates” of the internest are not what we thought they were. This talk was really eye opening for me, since I had no idea that our information was being filtered in this way. And you’re right it is very scary! We need to figure out a way to fix this problem because Web 2.0 is supposed ot be a tool that helps us to grow, challenges us, and forces us to see other opinions. The filtered information we recieve is not what we need in this modern day

  2. I blogged about this video, also! I found it surprising that these online “filter bubbles” actually existed. In my blog, I mentioned about how I actually tested it out on Google. I asked my friend to Google search “pizza”, and I did the same. We both got different results. I find it so weird that Google alter the results based on what kind of computer we have, what browser we use, and our location. In my opinion, I think this is somewhat an invasion of privacy. We are entitled the right to see what gets put into our online bubbles, and what gets edited out.

  3. Wow! I didn’t know that. I knew that one time I was on this website looking for cheap eye glasses to buy and then suddenly every time I was on Youtube, that website’s commercials were playing on the videos. I never knew that they actually filtered the information though. We could be missing out on so much information! How are we supposed to see other sides and broaden our minds if they hide other things from us that we wouldn’t normally look at? We should be able to choose what we have filtered or not.

  4. I found this video so interesting! It opened up my eyes to something I never even knew existed! This video blew my mind. The idea of filter bubbles was very interesting to me and scared me too!. It’s crazy to think that the internet has a bunch of signals that are filtering your search results. My search results are different depending where I’m search or what computer I’m on. In a way, I think how is this fair when writing a paper to different people getting different results. Someone is getting better results, maybe? Just a thought. We think that the internet was the golden opportunity for communication, but maybe it’s not. It may be the complete opposite of that and should take a second look at this!

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