Many voices warn that social media may be filtering out news that we dislike. Here's what the research says about it ...
A filter bubble is a state of intellectual or ideological isolation that may result from algorithms feeding us information we agree with, based on our past behaviour and search history. It's a pretty popular term that was coined by Internet activist Eli Pariser, who wrote about a book about it. However, Reuters Senior Research Fellow Richard Fletcher said in a recent seminar, academic research on the subject tells a different story about filter bubbles. Here's an edited transcript of that talk.
What is a filter bubble? Is it the same as an echo chamber?
People use services like Facebook, Twitter and Apple News to get their news. Some of the news that people see when they're using these platforms has been selected automatically by algorithms. Algorithms made this selection by using data that have been collected by platforms, based on our past use, and also data that we voluntarily give to platforms. Of course, the fear is that this could reinforce existing consumption patterns.