Filter Bubbles: Helpful Or Harmful

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A Filter bubble is described as “intellectual isolation that results from searches when a website algorithm assumes what information a user would like to see”. The internet keeps on file the things that a user searches for and what websites they frequently use.

The internet then uses this information when the user is online to limit any controversial information that the user may see while searching for a topic. There are so many examples of algorithms that we are faced with every day. A few examples of common internet algorithms would be Netflix, Twitter, news sites, and search engines. Ever wonder why after searching heavily on a topic or product you will see many ads and things that are relevant to what you were searching for. Filter bubbles can be helpful in some cases but in most cases they are not.

Being that my parents and my entire family are very strong Trump supporters I liked to stay informed on what is going on in politics. Because of this I frequently search things and look at Donald Trump’s tweet. When I google Twitter I am taken directly to Donald Trump’s twitter page. This proves that what page I frequently view on Twitter is saved and remembered. While I am researching these topics I rarely ever see anything about the Democratic Party or the harsh things the media says about Trump. During the 2016 election I rarely ever saw a campaign ad for any candidate other than Donald Trump. I have noticed more algorithms on my Netflix account. Netflix makes lists of movies and shows based on what you have watched. This can limit what movies pop up on your Netflix account. This does not allow a user to be shown every movie options available.

I believe the internet sensors the opposing views and parties to prevent controversial information. This limits what I am able to access on the internet. This also limits the information that I can gain by researching something due to my previous search histories. This is a negative thing because it should be easy to view anything on the internet and not be limited to what I see when I search a specific topic. It can be argued that internet algorithms can very helpful in many cases. It can make it easier to find things related to the topic you are looking for or topics relevant to that topic. Filter bubbles can show ads for products that your search history proves you may be interested in. They also can make it easier and less distracting to research a topic. “Research has shown that people prefer objects or experiences that are closely related to themselves compared to objects or experiences that are not related to them”.

Filter bubbles can be argued to be healthful or harmful. It depends on the if the person searching for something is bother by only being able to access what pertains to their recent searches. Some people would not want their internet content to be filtered and limited. Being for or against filter bubbles is a personal choice. Filter bubbles can make it difficult to view opposing views on many things. Some users may feel that their privacy has been invaded by saving their search histories. Others may not be bothered by a breach of privacy.

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