When I search for something on Google, the results displayed on my screen will be rather dissimilar from the results shown to you. Based on past click behaviour, search history and other information Google has gathered about me as a user. The same goes for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and many other platforms.
We live in an age of filter bubbles, a term introduced by internet activist Eli Pariser, who states that adapted newsfeeds and search results are limiting our view of the world. Our perception is pressed into a filter bubble, successfully isolating people in their own cultural or socio-political world. Topics and news that we find uncomfortable or that are disrupting our current view of the world are simply left out.
Pariser gives the example of his friends that are searching for ‘’BP’’ in Google. Google shows an add and investment information to his first friend, while his other friend sees an article about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The two types of information will cause his two friends to have entirely different opinions about BP. Another example is a supporter of a certain political party. The newsfeeds that are shown to him on his Facebook wall will most probably support the views of his political party, completely editing out views from opposite parties. Ideas are confirmed by limited diversity on the Internet, which causes the creation of a view or a ‘’bubble’’ that is far from real.
The filter bubble phenomenon can lead to a condition of disconnect, as people will become unable to understand how people could have different perspectives from themselves. Curating the information to what we want to see, rather than what we need to see will cause long-term problems. I believe it is essential to be aware of the negative impact of filter bubbles, in a world where personalized information is increasingly used.