The Filter Bubble

Friday, May 20, 2011


Does the internet allow users to limit their interaction to like-minded people, or does access to the World Wide Web expose users to new points of view, different from their own? The question has seemingly been asked for as long as the internet has been around. In his new book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You, Eli Pariser says it's not just that people are seeking out the other like-minded people, but the internet itself is actually forcing users into their own echo chambers.

Comments [3]

mp from New York

I think what is absent here is noting the human need for a sense of community: they are under attack in the modern world and we are striving for compensation. Hence a different reason why this phenomenon is so pervasive and effective. Rather than geographical provincialism or the provincialism of the village, we are finding a sense of community, meaning, and coherence in the world of information. This community is being formed through a kind of netflixisation of the way we are informed and validated. And this produces a bubble. But all communities have them. It's a universal phenomenon that all cultures share, and that all communities share on a more provincial level.
The concern here is that these new communities will be united by a presentation of facts and ideas that dictated to serve a larger insidious interest -- of advertisers. History is instructive: it's not the first time in history that a presentation of ideas and facts were dictated to serve a larger insidious interest.

May. 24 2011 07:10 PM
jskdn from California

As your guest described what's being done manipulating the information we see and especially that done by Facebook, perhaps you might consider the implications of the so many newspapers going to the Facebook commenting system for use on their articles. Not only will people see different comments, those with moderation privileges at the newspapers can use that power to censor comments or the people making them that they don't like and those being censored are quite unlikely to even know they have been censored. That's because Facebook will deliver the censored comment to web page it's maker is viewing (more accurately the computer profile that has the cookies of the commenter) even though other people can't see it. Facebook enables the concealment of censorship.

Compare that to the statements of Obama and Zuckerberg during Obama's Facebook campaign stop.

ZUCKERBERG: So, it has never been as easy in the history of the world for people to have their voice heard and exercise their freedom of speech, just post something, comment, like.

OBAMA: And what Facebook allows us to do is make sure this isn't just a one way conversation, make sure that not that not only am I speaking to you but you're also speaking back and we're in the conversation, we're in a dialogue.

May. 23 2011 04:00 PM
Philip Prindeville from Portland, OR

Pariser: [...] I went out of my way to meet and befriend people who had really different viewpoints [...] But actually we know you're interested in the more progressive stuff.

Wait, is he describing Facebook... or NPR?

Seems to me that NPR goes out of its way to roll out the same progressive sources (Ken Rudin, EJ Dionne, Tom Ricks, ...) i.e. "the usual suspects" despite accepting taxpayer money across the full spectrum of political sensibilities.

Perhaps Ms. Gladstone can tell us when was the last time she had Brent Bozell or Fred Barnes or Cal Thomas on the show?

Yes, exactly.

May. 22 2011 10:02 PM

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