I’ve recently heard a new term, the “Filter Bubble“. The premise behind the filter bubble is that continued personalization of internet services, like Google’s tailored search results, leads to an increasingly narrow view of all that’s available on the internet. One of the internet’s greatest benefits to humanity is that it’s the perfect platform to advance all perspectives (recent internet censorship rumblings notwithstanding).
The filter bubble can potentially disrupt the platform by limiting visibility of other points of view, cultures, political persuasions, etc. I understand the argument, but I think that any alarm over what the filter bubble means is overblown.
This isn’t some insidious plot by Google (and most other media sites) to limit your experiences, it’s a side-effect of the natural progression toward more personalized data retrieval. I would argue that most internet users welcome efforts at personalization. Google should absolutely be showing me search results that are relevant to me. Facebook should absolutely only show updates from people/brands that I care about, not worrying about whether or not I get a well-rounded collection of points-of-view.
Yes, there’s definitely a possibility that internet users will fall into tribes based on their social network connections and personalization choices made. But, that’s what the users want. It’s optional. You can sign out of Google if you want to get unbiased search results. There are ways to circumvent the filter bubble, if it’s something that concerns you in the first place.
Are you concerned about a filter bubble?
Image credit: Will Montague on Flickr