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Fake News or Disinformation: Filter Bubbles & Bias

Learn how to tell the difference between real and fake news.

"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."

Techopedia. (n.d.) Filter bubble. Retrieved from https://www.techopedia.com/definition/28556/filter-bubble

In other words, search engines are showing us only what they think we want to see.  This means we aren't seeing different points of view and only see what reinforces what we already believe.

Click on the image above to view the video on the Ted.com site.

YouTube Filter Bubbles

A new site, TheirTube, has emerged to demonstrate more fully how individuals are put into bubbles by the services they use.  This site, funded by Mozilla, is based on interviews with YouTube users.

Six YouTube accounts have been set up to simulate the users subscriptions and viewing habits of the:

  • Fruitarian
  • Prepper
  • Liberal
  • Conservative
  • Conspiracist
  • Climate Denier

Take a look and see what's being suggested today.  You can also scroll back and forth to see how the recommendations change or look at watch history.

See All Sides

One way to fight filter bubbles and bias is to read different sources that we might not ordinarily use.

Consequences of Filter Bubbles

TikTok's Algorithm

The Wall Street Journal just published an article into their findings about TikTok and it's algorithm that shows how quickly and easily social networks learn what interests people and then keeps them in that bubble.  Read the brief article and watch the video.

Inside TikTok's Algorithm: A WSJ Video Investigation