The internet is a powerful tool, people use it to look up information every day. The world wide web can tell us anything from accurate information regarding what has happened in the world the last 24 hours, to how to cook pasta, or spell a word correctly along with the definition. In most cases, we find our information quickly using search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. They redirect us to a page with “hits” showing us articles, pictures and videos on how, what, when or why.
This has become second nature to the world population. If you’re in doubt, google it! Want to settle an argument? Google it! Struggling with a blog post? google it! The power and knowledge we have at our fingertips is fantastic. But with great power comes great responsibility.
(Image edited by me, original source (25.01.2020)
“It will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them” – Eric Schmidt, Google
What is the “Filter Bubble”?
In this post, i will be using Google as my example. When two people search google for the same thing, the results might be different. Google wants to give you exactly what you are looking for, not just the information, but the information YOU want to see. Depending on your search history, social media and location among other things, google will provide you with results it thinks is best fitting for you. This is done through an invisible algorithmic editing of the web.
Getting exactly what you want and what you’re asking for sounds convenient, but the problem is what google isn’t sharing with you. The lack of objective and general information can be biased and manipulating to some.
The results you get when googling just about anything, can help change the way you view things in life. From popular travel destinations to political opinions. There is currently a lot of drama in american politics, liberals and republicans are fighting over the current presidency like never before. The impeachment of Trump has reached international headlines.
The situation is quite unique, because of our nearly unlimited access to the internet. The impeachment trials are a great example of something a lot of people google every day. Which results you get may greatly depend on where you lean politically and what you have googled before.
Propaganda plays a major role in the filter bubble. With the knowledge of what peoples political views are, their economic situation, where they work and what they enjoy doing in their spare time, organizations can use this to target specific groups and people. This can be done to feed us ideas, or to hide the ugly truth they don’t want you to see.
Ultimately, people will end up in echo chambers. Isolated from information we don’t want to see. In a sense we are talking to ourselves and feeding ourselves with the illusion that we are always correct. This is an unhealthy way to view the world, and it could have a huge impact on the general awareness of the public. Ignorance is a powerful asset in politics, corrupt governments and modern media.
This is why it’s important to be critical of what you read online. Socialize with people who challenge your beliefs, prejudice, ideas and opinions. Learn more about different countries and their culture. Having an open mind is great, but blind belief is not.
A Great TED talk on the topic of Filter bubbles