Systems — be they people, cultures, or web browsing, to name a few examples — naturally have to filter information and thus they reduce options. Sometimes people make decisions, sometimes cultures make them, and increasingly algorithms make them. As the speed of information flowing through these systems increases, filters will play an even more important role.
Understanding that what we see is not all there is will help us realize that we’re living in a distorted world and remind us to take off the glasses.
How You Create Filter Bubbles
The personalization internet users have come to expect reduces the diversity of content and ideas they see online.
If our society is experiencing a “filter bubble” at the moment, it’s probably a financial rather than intellectual one, as too much investment is directed at tools to manipulate content, and not enough at publishers who create it.
Interesting to contrast this with our current social media filter bubbles.
Social Media And Filter Bubbles
The problem is this: Facebook has become a feedback loop which can and does, despite its best intentions, become a vicious spiral. At Facebook’s scale, behavioral targeting doesn’t just reflect our behavior, it actually influences it. Over time, a service which was supposed to connect humanity is actually partitioning us into fractal disconnected bubbles.
Facebook now has serious political influence thanks to its development from a social networking tool into a primary source of news and opinions. And for many, the way it manages this influence is in need of greater scrutiny. But to put the blame solely on the company is to overlook how people use the site, and how they themselves create a filter bubble effect through their actions.
Social media filter bubbles are not the problem; they are symptomatic of the problem.
Filter Bubbles And Fake News
Pariser’s work has led him to believe that blaming fake news for fractured discourse is a red herring. Yes, no doubt, social media is pushing stories that are just plain false. But what most people encounter online isn’t news at all.
Wired spoke with Pariser to discuss how his notion of the filter bubble has evolved.
Ultimately, we’re living in a filter bubble where we’ve isolated ourselves from alternative points of view. Our worldview ends up shrinking rather than growing — particularly at a time when we need to unite.
Escaping Your Filter Bubble
Algorithms can help, but more fundamentally, we need to figure out what we want a diverse pool of information to look like.
The rise of long tail media, filter bubbles, and fake news are closely intertwined. Advertisers and consumers need to take responsibility for the media they support, says columnist and IAB VP of Marketing Chris Glushko.
How Brands are Responding
The modern American reality is that of a political and social filter bubble. Maybe a granola bar can change things.
On Tuesday, Kind Snacks’ non-profit wing will launch “Pop Your Bubble,” a Facebook plugin that connects Facebook users with people vastly different from them in order to force them to embrace different points of view. Consider it a Tinder swipe, except that instead of trying to find something in common, it’s a mismatch designed to steer you toward debate and discussion.
British publishers are using Facebook Messenger bots as tools to arm voters against filter bubbles in the run-up to the general election on June 8.
The Times has launched a Messenger bot under its political sub-brand Red Box. The bot, called “filter-bubble buster,” is primed to provide people with a balanced view of information ahead of voting.