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The Filter Bubble Essay

1020 words - 5 pages

Eli Pariser, author of the “Filter Bubble” provides insight on how the personalized web is shaping our identity. He argues that what is good for consumers are not necessarily good for citizens (18). The Internet provides us with the answers to our questions, but perhaps this is the problem at hand. Today, we live in a filter bubble that “fundamentally alters the way we encounter ideas and information” (9). On December 4th, 2009 the era of personalization began; our computer monitors became one-way mirrors reflecting consumer interests (3). We assume that when we Google a term, we all see the same results, but algorithm suggests what is particularly best for you (2). Our behaviour has become ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore, Facebook believes that our peers are more likely to know what is important and relevant to us; similar to many other media realms Pariser discusses such as Netflix. Algorithms should be challenging us outside our comfort zone to open the door for new products and services. Facebook “likes” opened my eyes to ‘friendly world syndrome,’ in which leading prevalent world problems fail to reach our point of view (149). Since people are less inclined to click “like” on tragic stories, it is unlikely it will prioritize our news feed. Media ultimately shapes our identity as Pariser claims; however, it is not because we are mindless robots who cannot think for ourselves. We are a civilization of conformists, and these conglomerates make it extremely difficult for us to create more privacy for ourselves sending us on an endless identity loops with no opportunity for discovery.

The Internet in of itself resembles the global village in which we are all confined to and thus it has the ability to transcend information through space and time; a Harold Innis bias I am familiar with from COMN 1000 this past year. This convergence brought together separate information technology such as film, TV, and music into one technological platform such as the Internet. The digitalization of media content is translated into a common format, a binary language of 1s and 0s transmitted via Internet. In the past, newspaper editors served as gatekeepers who control access to media publication or broadcast, but today we all have access, no? Instead, the middlemen have been replaced with algorithm gatekeepers with no embedded ethics. Furthermore, this generates a digital divide where many groups are excluded from political, economic, and social benefits enabled by these technologies. In terms of privacy, the more information others have about you, the more your choices are constrained. Privacy is a human right, democratic value, and social value, but personal information can drive a steady profit in the electronic marketplace. The commonly held belief that technology is an autonomous and powerful driving...

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