What is a “Filter Bubble”?

The term filter bubble was coined by Internet activist Eli Pariser, and describes the way  websites use algorithms to select what users might want to see based on browser history and data. Some say that these personalized filters create invisible divides between web users and enclose people in bubbles of their own beliefs, opinions, and expectations.

Here’s a video that explains it all in all in less than 2 minutes!

“The Filter Bubble” Made Simple (in stop motion!) 

Here’s what some people have to say about the future of internet personalization, along with a few words from past scholars regarding freedom, communication, and media:

“Left to their own devices, personalization filters serve up a kind of invisible autopropaganda, indoctrinating us with our own ideas, amplifying our desire for things that are familiar and leaving us oblivious to the dangers lurking in the dark territory of the unknown.” – Eli Pariser, Political & Internet Activist

“The technology will be so good it will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them.” – Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google

“Everything which bars freedom and fullness of communication sets up barriers that divide human beings into sects and cliques, into antagonistic sects and factions, and thereby undermines the democratic way of life.” – John Dewey, American Philosopher

“Within the next few years, it’ll be anachronistic to visit a website that hasn’t been customized to your personal interests in some way.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook

“The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and ourselves”- Hannah Arendt, Political Theorist

“We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.” – Marshall McLuhan, Media Theorist


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