Monday, December 02, 2013

Google, Facebook: No Room for Change

From "Blame the Internet for partisanship" by Megan Ellisor in Technician Online:

In a March 2011 Ted Talk, Pariser talked about how he noticed that his conservative Facebook friends’ posts began to “disappear” from his News Feed. Because Pariser clicked on more of the links posted by his liberal friends than his conservative friends, Facebook filtered the conservative posts out of his News Feed. 

[Eli] Pariser, author of The Filter Bubble, demonstrated how Google is filtering search results in his March 2011 Ted Talk by showing screen-shots of what his friends found when they Googled “Egypt” on the same day. Both were Caucasian men located in New York, yet Google gave them very different results.

Pariser said Facebook and Google are using algorithms to act as gatekeepers, making information that we are most likely to agree with the easiest to find. But as Pariser pointed out in his March 2011 Ted Talk, these algorithmic gatekeepers do not have the “embedded ethics” that human gatekeepers did.

The algorithms are different than gatekeepers in that they aren’t preventing us from seeing any information. They are, however, making it more difficult to find different opinions. We all have access to the same information, but sites, such as Google and Facebook, are propelling us all to information that seems to only affirm our views. 

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I have noticed this for a while with Google and it really really bugs me. They decide what I want to see based on what I have looked at in the past. Talk about no room for change!!!! - NH

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