Filter Bubble

Technopedia defines a filter bubble as “A filter bubble is the intellectual isolation that can occur when websites make use of algorithms to selectively assume the information a user would want to see, and then give information to the user according to this assumption. Websites make these assumptions based on the information related to the user, such as former click behavior, browsing history, search history and location. For that reason, the websites are more likely to present only information that will abide by the user's past activity. A filter bubble, therefore, can cause users to get significantly less contact with contradicting viewpoints, causing the user to become intellectually isolated.”

When people use the term 'filter bubble' now, they are usually referring to the way social media sites filter content but the problem is deeper than that. Since the dawn of the internet, people have found it easier and easier to connect with like-minded individuals around the world. This has allowed relatively small factions to thrive. If only one percent of one percent of the population feels the way you do there are still about 330,000 people in the United States alone that you can talk to.

Once connected to many like-minded individuals it is easier for people to begin to cut off people outside that circle. People have increasingly been building their own filter bubbles. Once individuals establish these connections it becomes easier and easier to cut loose people who disagree with your viewpoint and to cut off information sources that cast doubt on the 'truths' you believe in.

This behavior is actually rewarded within those circles because sharing ideas and information from entrusted individuals or publications is greeted with negativity. This culling of non-believers also makes it easier to be hostile to those who oppose your ideas. After all, those outsiders are not your 'friends', they are not part of your peer group and you don't need to negotiate or compromise or find common ground, so why greet them with civility? (Just have a look at the comments section of any major publication that still has one to see the effect.)

Fighting against these filter bubbles is one of the motivations behind this site.