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The (partial) death of filter bubbles

Blog post   •   Jan 10, 2018 10:00 CET

Code decides what information you see and what will never reach you. Here is why that should change. And how.

It has been said that the internet used to be an ocean connecting everyone, but that has now turned into isolated islands drifting further and further apart from each other. A huge network of interconnected, free individuals has turned into separated clusters of likeminded – a world of bubbles.

A filter bubble is the result of a website algorithms supplying users with information they think the user want to see based on earlier online activity (such as search history and earlier click-behavior). This leads to people being shed off from information offering other perspectives and different views of the world than the one they already have. People are being fed only what they want to hear, information confirming what they already believe is true and they get sucked deeper and deeper into cultural and ideological bubbles. As the terms founder put it filter bubbles “create the impression that our narrow self-interest is all that exists”.

The term ‘filter bubbles’ was first coined in 2011 by internet activist Eli Pariser. He published a book named “The Filter Bubble” and held a ted talk on the topic that went viral. The term was heavily debated for a while. But later the term drifted out of the center of the debate. Maybe the threat of filter bubbles had been exaggerated?

Then one of the biggest upsets in modern political history happened.

The business man, real estate celebrity and entertainment TV regular Donald Trump, a man many people love and even more love to hate, became the republican party presidential candidate. Despite a long row of scandals, overt sexism, racism, ignorance, serious ongoing law suits and a complete lack of experience of governing and politics he then went on and was voted president of the United States.

Few people saw it coming.

Politicians, journalists, commentators, voters, poll makers, academics, etcetera all failed to foresee what was about to happen. Once it had happened with few exceptions liberals all asked themselves two things: how could this happen? And how could we not see it coming?

One of the answers they came up with, that answers both questions was, yes you guessed it: filter bubbles.

The term once again entered the center of the debate.

Search engines and social media use algorithms to sort out what they send your way. The two main players are of course Google and Facebook. Those top ten links that are showed by Google when you search for something have God like influential powers (and for that reason God like status amongst PR-people and marketing strategist) and Facebook is nowadays a huge news source – 45 percent of people use it as their main source of news*.

Google search results and Facebook news feeds are both controlled by algorithms that uses a long list of variables to figure out what you are most likely to engage with. Different people get different search results when they google the same term and no Facebook feed is another alike. Filter bubbles are created and they can be hard to decipher. You only see the information in front of you, never what could also have been there.

Intellectual isolation occurs. Society gets increasingly polarized, or at least people tend to think that it is. People don’t meet face to face, their fellow humans with opposing views seize to be humans of flesh and blood, with emotions and feelings. It is easier to not have compassion for an avatar.

The social media platform Idka is by design filter bubble resistant. It is built on the premises that people’s privacy is not to be capitalized upon. Therefor your online activity and choices are not stored, shared or analyzed making the occurrence of filter bubbles impossible. The internet has changed but that change is not irreversible. At Idka we believe the islands can turn into water and the internet can once again become an ocean.

The change was written in code, not stone.

About Idka

Idka is a private and safe platform and we will protect your data. You can share anything you want, from photos to important work material, talk to friends and family and the data remains private. We do not share your data, you control the sharing.

Idka combines functionality that is otherwise spread across several services, all integrated in a super simple and effective user experience. With Idka you can be social and stay private. 

Try Idka now, www.idka.com

be social, stay private®

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