Culture

Beware online “filter bubbles”: Eli Pariser on TED.com

Posted by: Tedstaff

As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy. (Recorded at TED2011, March 2011, in Long Beach, CA. Duration: 9:05)

Watch Eli Pariser’s talk on TED.com, where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 900+ TEDTalks.

Comments (67)

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  • Eric Woning commented on May 17 2011

    This is a load of poppycock.
    First of all: we’re acting as if there is no more human in the equation…. sorry, but there is.
    Facebook changed: go change back the settings. You’re not completely stupid… you can ask around how to change that.
    Same goes for everything else.

    For those who don’t – they still watch tv, read magazines… if they search for something specific they will find it when they go to whatever – they just cannot use one word searches anymore – which BTW no one does. 3 is the near minimum. I bet that if friends look for Egypt, revolution – they will get the news (just maybe from different sources)

    Third: Clive Anderson wrote a good piece in Wired about how the strong ties give better info than weak ties because they give a lot more – see here http://bit.ly/jEDSA3.

    Curation will become far more important – but Huma curation being so much better than autocuration we have nothing to fear for a long, long time.

    P.s. I still get links from third parties. If things were so well curated SPAM and bad advertising would be gone…. they’re still here to stay (sadly).

    Second

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  • Sherman Buck commented on May 16 2011

    As I watched the video, it occurred to me that Eli Pariser was talking about algorithms just like most talk about corporations, as if they were living entities. Humans create them driven by their own egoic filters. Even more interesting was noticing the filtering systems occurring on-line mirror our own egoic psychical structures. I find it interesting that the many are caught up in spending varied amounts of time on-line staring at a screen lost in the Internet that is filtering what you look at, much like your brain filters what you perceive out in the external world. The Internet is mirroring our own programmed bias filtering systems and it begets the question, why is this occurring? There’s more, but I’ll leave it for you to contemplate on.

  • Marye Isaacs commented on May 16 2011

    I just tried the search results screenshot test with a friend whose political opinions are very different than mine, and our results were identical. We even deliberately searched on a topic (health reform) where we disagree completely. The filter bubble does not appear to be in effect in this case.

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  • Gregory Grefenstette commented on May 13 2011

    This raises the fundamental problem of infodiversity, the information analogue of biodiversity. There are not that many independent indexes of the Web left (Google, Yahoo, Bing in the US; Exalead in Europe; Baidu in China). All information is filtered, but if there are more independent sources of information, there is more chance for information to get through.

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  • commented on May 4 2011

    Is there any non-filtered alternative out there? Or rather, an alternative that lets us users choose our own filters, instead of imposing them onto us?

    • Gary Kahn commented on May 29 2011

      sounds like a great entrepreneurial opportunity–next Google anyone?

    • James Powell commented on Nov 3 2011

      Try http://duckduckgo.com/ – not only do they consider privacy of paramount importance, but it’s also an incredibly powerful search engine.

    • Octavian Ristea commented on Apr 8 2012

      It’s called duckduckgo.com

  • mahmoud nagib commented on May 4 2011

    (VIP) i am Arabic man from Egypt and when i do searches on Arab or Muslims on ( YouTube ) (Facebook ) (Google) and (Yahoo) all i can see is how my Civilization was great and how we are the reason why the white man Civilizations look like this today and this is true , but if you live in USA and did the same search on Arab or Muslims all you can see is ( Terrorism ) or (stupid men with a lot of money) and this is so untrue , you opened my mind and i don’t know if you think of this dirty plan before its not( filter bubble ) its a dirty media again controlling people minds but not in TV or Movies , now i have no wonder why Google , yahoo and a lot of the movies producers are Jews sorry Israelis , and there is more when you open your Facebook account and then open any other site that include the word ( SHARE ) they can know who you are what you like to see or what are you planing to do what if you doing some important researches to invent some thing they can steal your thoughts and there is even more , but i guess every one reading this will get what i want to say. viewer please tell me what you think of this do you agree or its fare away to believe because i have more profs to what i am saying

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