Summary of Technologists Are Trying to Fix the “Filter Bubble” Problem that Tech Helped Create

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Technologists Are Trying to Fix the “Filter Bubble” Problem that Tech Helped Create summary
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People want to surround themselves with like-minded peers with similar interests and values. On social media, algorithms pick up on people’s preferences and show more and more of the same perspective, thus reinforcing existing beliefs. The social divide that these “filter bubbles” foster makes it more and more difficult for people with divergent views to relate – even offline. However, if social media were the main culprit, diversifying social media feeds could cure society’s polarization. Journalist Adam Piore, writing for the MIT Technology Review, explains why the filter bubble isn’t simply a social media phenomenon. getAbstract recommends this insightful read to anyone interested in finding out why technical solutions alone can’t pop filter the bubble. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • How communities of like-minded individuals form naturally online and become more insular over time,
  • Why trying to force a diversity of ideas on social media users through the use of technology may not yield the desired results, and
  • What steps social media users can take to expand their exposure to new ideas.
 

About the Author

Adam Piore is an award-winning journalist and author of The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human.

 

Summary

Extreme views are the currency of social media, turning mild-mannered neighbors into rabid supporters of their favorite cause once they slide behind their keyboards. And, while rants and biased memes will repel some real-world friends, they will draw others to the fire. Often users congregate in groups of like-minded peers with a dearth of opposing views to consider. This narrowing world perspective is a stellar example of the “filter bubble” that Internet activist Eli Pariser described in 2011. But, while the phenomenon is perhaps most evident on social media channels, it’s not a new problem at all.


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