The term filter bubble was coined by Eli Pariser to describe “the result of the algorithms that dictate what we encounter online.” Social media creates filters by targeting ads, content, and creators that align with one’s personal interests and political views. When someone engages in content, social media sites and advertisers direct similar posts to their feed.
Filter bubbles impact journalism, specifically in politics. Andrew Yang speaks on the reality of running without a recognized platform saying, “You hope that your message will catch hold, and that reporters will share your ideas with others who will then take an interest in you.” Yang says what the media chooses to publish is what is focused on by the American people, and vice versa — even if it not the most important.
Filter bubbles do not only exist online; they are present in everyday environments. Where one lives and works and who they associate with influences their bubble. Surrounding oneself with like-minded people may be natural to society, but it promotes groupthink. NBC News says this can lead to potential dangers such as overestimating the prevalence of one’s perspective, decreasing empathy for others, and inhibiting authentic dialogue and true change.
In order to break free of filter bubbles, take Farnam Street‘s proactive steps such as activating ad-blocking browser extensions, seeking information from a wide range of perspectives, and aiming to educate not entertain oneself with news. Additionally, operating in incognito browsing, deleting search histories, and avoiding logging into accounts when possible will limit the filters placed on the content shown.
To avoid in-person filter bubbles contributing to one-sided perspectives, attend debates, forums, and rallies with both sides present.