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Burst Your Bubble

Source: Don’t Bubble

On the second day of government class, we did an assignment on bias and filter bubbles (Parish Government). I had never thought about this topic and how it could potentially be related to government. It was shocking to me to discover how what we search on our computers and phones enables our later searches to be narrowed down to seemingly only what we want to see. Who would have thought that when the person sitting next to me in class googled the exact same thing that I did at the exact same time, different search results popped up for both of us. Some articles were higher up on the list on my search and some articles that popped up on her search weren’t even present on mind. Internet sites such as Yahoo, Google, and Facebook all control what we are seeing based on the information they have “gathered” on us as individuals.

Source: Audio Editions

Sites such as Yahoo, Google, and Facebook edit what we see on the Internet based on previous searches. Google looks at everything you are doing, including where you are searching from, and uses that information to filter your searches to what it believes you will want to see. Yahoo is a personalized site where people will receive different information when searching for the same thing (TED). Facebook uses recent searches on your computer to customize the type of advertisements that pop up on the sides of your page. If you had recently searched for an SAT tutor then logged onto your Facebook account, it is likely that you will see and add for SAT online tutoring or SAT prep books. The Internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see based on past searches instead of what we need to see. We don’t have a choice of what gets edited in and we don’t see what gets edited out. Factors such as political beliefs play a major role in what the Internet filters for a specific person (TED). If someone is constantly searching for a certain political party, the Internet will eventually detect those searches and start to filter our searches so that we are only seeing the results that mirror our political beliefs. We are cut off from other’s innovative thoughts about certain factors and find ourselves stuck in a box of our own beliefs not willing to accept other points of view. We become trapped and see no way other than our own while there are so many different ideas floating around that could be better or that could add on to and improve our own thoughts. Being deprived of all ideas does not improve an individual and his/her knowledge but rather hinders him/her.

We need to have some control on what gets through and what doesn’t because, sometimes, the limited information given to us only isolates us from the rest of the world and important issues that we should be cognizant of. This disconnection from the rest of the world can easily harm our society instead of help it. Being unaware of certain issues and view points just because an individual searched for an opposing view is trapping him/her in a bubble that he/she cannot burst. I believe that we must work to burst this filter bubble in which we are confined in order to broaden our perspectives on issues that involve opinions and ideas other than our own.

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