Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You
CNN ^ | 5/14/12 | Doug Gross,

Posted on 05/14/2012 11:17:18 AM PDT by listenhillary

(SNIP)

On "the filter bubble" and how it works

One of the things that's really interesting about the filter bubble is that it's invisible. You can't see how your Internet, the websites you visit, are different than what other people see. They are sort of slipping further and further apart.

A couple of years ago, when you Googled something, everyone would get the same result. Now, when I've done these experiments, you can really get these dramatically different results. One person Googles and sees a lot of news about protests and the other person gets travel agents talking about traveling to Egypt.

I'm basically trying to make visible this sort of membrane of personalized filters that surround us wherever we go online, and let's see what we see.

On why the "bubble's" silent nature is bad

It's one thing when you turn on MSNBC or Fox News. When you do that, you know what the editing rule is -- what kind of things you'd expect to see there and what kind of things you'd expect to be edited out. But with a Facebook news feed or Google News, you don't know who they think you are. You don't know what's been edited out. It can really distort your view of the world.

(Excerpt) Read more at articles.cnn.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: internet
Amazon.com has a better summary of the book. Even though it was written by a leftist, the filtering done for profit is shaping what you believe is true.
1 posted on 05/14/2012 11:17:20 AM PDT by listenhillary
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

It’s written by someone who wants to do that kind of shaping himself. It may be easy to play “shoot the messenger”, but it’s hard to take it from a proverbial “boy who cried ‘Wolf’” . . . because it will still look like agenda-mongering on his own part.


2 posted on 05/14/2012 11:26:41 AM PDT by Olog-hai
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

dogpile.com

etc.


3 posted on 05/14/2012 11:29:50 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

There is nothing conservative to be found.

There is no historical data on any polictical subject.


4 posted on 05/14/2012 11:35:36 AM PDT by donna (The fruits of Feminism: Angry fathers, bitter mothers, fat kids and political correctness.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary
Abine, Do Not Track

Will Do Not Track kill the 'free' Internet?

5 posted on 05/14/2012 11:36:13 AM PDT by Lancey Howard (No Romney, no way.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

The author would have you believe the “Internet” is hiding stuff from you. It’s like listening to only a couple friends for your truth dose when you only pull information from CNN and Google. There are many search engines available and multiple news sources to weigh and balance the information one obtains from the Internet. Sad thing is that many people only search via Google and their filters, which can also be altered by the user to some extent. And some people only listen to a couple of friends, and become twisted liberal fools in the process.


6 posted on 05/14/2012 11:36:27 AM PDT by roadcat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary
So now it's Google's fault rather than my fault for not listening to NPR and watching MSNBC like all the cool kids do.
7 posted on 05/14/2012 11:39:03 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (You only have three billion heartbeats in a lifetime.How many does the government claim as its own?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

Not to worry. Just by following links you can usually get to where the truth is.


8 posted on 05/14/2012 11:39:26 AM PDT by Nateman (If liberals are not screaming you are doing it wrong!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

A more subtle “Overton Window?”


9 posted on 05/14/2012 11:39:57 AM PDT by petro45acp ("Don't" read 'HOPE' by L Neil Smith and Aaron Zelman...it will bring tears to eyes. BOR!!!!!!!!!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

Erase your cookies..........


10 posted on 05/14/2012 11:46:44 AM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

Another good reason for the existence of Free Republic...


11 posted on 05/14/2012 11:47:16 AM PDT by free-in-nyc (Freeping from the heart of the occupation)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KarlInOhio

Google and other search engines are selecting links based on what they think you will click on. From the Amazon page discussing the book.

Q: Is there any way to avoid this personalization? What if I’m not logged into a site?

A: Even if you’re not logged into Google, for example, an engineer told me there are 57 signals that the site uses to figure out who you are: whether you’re on a Mac or PC or iPad, where you’re located when you’re Googling, etc. And in the near future, it’ll be possible to “fingerprint” unique devices, so that sites can tell which individual computer you’re using. That’s why erasing your browser cookies is at best a partial solution—it only partially limits the information available to personalizers.


12 posted on 05/14/2012 11:49:05 AM PDT by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: petro45acp

That was a book Glenn Beck wrote? I didn’t read it. Sorry.


13 posted on 05/14/2012 11:55:10 AM PDT by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary
..., when you Googled something,

With all the alternatives to this evil outfit that are available, why does anyone still "google" anything??

14 posted on 05/14/2012 11:56:34 AM PDT by RobinOfKingston (The instinct toward liberalism is located in the part of the brain called the rectal lobe.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RobinOfKingston

Because millions and millions of people have no clue?


15 posted on 05/14/2012 12:02:47 PM PDT by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

Like how when you go to Yahoo! and type in “Rush Limbaugh” it will bring up five hit pieces from liberal blogs and place them higher in the results than the actual RushLimbaugh.com webpage?


16 posted on 05/14/2012 12:06:12 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2nd amendment mama

Ping!


17 posted on 05/14/2012 12:18:57 PM PDT by basil (It's time to rid the country of "gun free zones" aka "Killing Fields")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: RobinOfKingston
With all the alternatives to this evil outfit that are available, why does anyone still "google" anything??

For the same reasons that people use Windows.

When a company dominates a market, the sheeple feel that the company must bend to thier demands as it looks too much like work to go with an alternate product. And if their demands are not met, they want gubment action.

Here's a site with a bunch of search engines listed. (not related to me in anyway, just found it) http://www.thesearchenginelist.com/

18 posted on 05/14/2012 12:22:42 PM PDT by Drill Thrawl (The United States of America, a banana republic since 1913)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: RobinOfKingston

how about google or iphones? they track where you are as a means of “knowing about you” for advertisers.

Spying on you phone surfing is far more invasive.


19 posted on 05/14/2012 12:23:17 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

Lets all google “ tea party “ and see any differences between us.


20 posted on 05/14/2012 12:34:26 PM PDT by urtax$@work (The only kind of memorial is a Burning memorial !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

That’s right. In short, a novel that shows how public perception and more important, level of acceptance can be moved. Good read!

The adage “...never let a good crisis go to waste..” sums it up.

Web 2.0 with location, cached searches, and demographic algorithms is pretty spooky from a consumer point of view. From the standpoint of filtering political thought, it slips right into scary!

Cheers


21 posted on 05/14/2012 12:35:30 PM PDT by petro45acp ("Don't" read 'HOPE' by L Neil Smith and Aaron Zelman...it will bring tears to eyes. BOR!!!!!!!!!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: urtax$@work
"tea party" google results:

Tea Party Patriots

Tea Party Movement-Wiki...

Welcome to Tea Party.org

Welcome to the Tea Party Express

Tea Party Patriots-Official Home of the ...

22 posted on 05/14/2012 12:37:16 PM PDT by urtax$@work (The only kind of memorial is a Burning memorial !)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary
Network
23 posted on 05/14/2012 12:47:19 PM PDT by Berlin_Freeper (Cogito cogito)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RobinOfKingston; cuban leaf; listenhillary; Fred Nerks; mojitojoe; Beckwith; little jeremiah; ...

https://www.startpage.com/

Supposed to be a pretty good secure search engine.

***************************Quote:

Startpage offers you Web search results from Google in complete privacy!

When you search with Startpage, we remove all identifying information from your query and submit it anonymously to Google ourselves. We get the results and return them to you in total privacy.

Your IP address is never recorded, your visit is not logged, and no tracking cookies are placed on your browser. When it comes to protecting your privacy, Startpage runs the tightest ship on the Internet. Our outstanding privacy policy and thoughtful engineering give you great search results in total anonymity. Here are some of our key features:

•Free proxy surfing available.
•Praised by privacy experts worldwide.
•Twelve-year company track record.
•Third-party certified.
•No IP address recorded.
•No record is made of your searches.
•No identifying or tracking cookies used.
•Powerful SSL encryption available.
To learn more, check out our privacy page and read our privacy policy. We’re confident you’ll like what you see.
***********************************

I do not know if the search results from Startpage are STILL personalized or shaped. What do you think?

This is important enough you know, that we actually should
initiate a Secure Search Sandbox thread, much like “HTML Sandbox” we have here on FR.


24 posted on 05/14/2012 12:47:46 PM PDT by Candor7 (Obama fascist info....http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary
To me, it sounds like a ripe business opportunity.

Bubble-less searching, that it.

25 posted on 05/14/2012 12:49:13 PM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RobinOfKingston

Google used to be so incredibly good, they are still the best although much less so.

I clear all my cookies and cache, I use Do Not Track, and have checked off whatever boxes google makes available to avoid personalizing of search results and ads.


26 posted on 05/14/2012 12:51:18 PM PDT by ansel12 (Ann Romney, 1994 'We didn't know a single Republican when we jumped in in December,')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Olog-hai

The big thing he’s missing is that the filters are really coming from you. If google isn’t throwing you links about protests in Egypt it’s because their records of your use show you don’t care about protests in Egypt, they’re not presenting you with stuff you ignored back when they were. And Zuckerberg is right, a squirrel running through your yard is more interesting to most people than folks dieing in Africa, and it doesn’t say anything bad about us, it’s a matter of how much effect it has on your life. If you’re living in America people dieing in Africa will almost certainly never have a direct impact on your life, that squirrel on the other hand might be rabid, and it’ll certainly send your pets to spasms of hunter instinct.


27 posted on 05/14/2012 12:53:27 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: RobinOfKingston

Because 9 times out of 10 Google will present the results I’m looking for in the first 5 links, and they’re conveniently pre-placed in my search toolbar. I don’t search for politics or morality I search for results and convenience.


28 posted on 05/14/2012 12:56:43 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: urtax$@work
Here was my result on "tea party".

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

29 posted on 05/14/2012 12:58:03 PM PDT by ansel12 (Ann Romney, 1994 'We didn't know a single Republican when we jumped in in December,')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Candor7

startpage is great. Just tried it. It’s my new “default” page.

Thanks.


30 posted on 05/14/2012 12:59:46 PM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

Bubble-less searching is called the 90s, it was cool at the time but now we’ve learned it’s lame. Here’s how you can prove for yourself how much cooler the bubble is. Go to a bubble search site like google on a machine that can be “tracked”, search for a relatively common business name you’ll find in many cities, notice how because of the tracking they know what city you’re in and return local results; now repeat the search either on a non-bubble site or an untrackable machine, notice how your results are all over the place and unless you live in a big city probably aren’t anywhere near you. That’s why they put the bubble in place, it make your search results more useful for you.


31 posted on 05/14/2012 1:03:29 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: discostu
If google isn’t throwing you links about protests in Egypt it’s because their records of your use show you don’t care about protests in Egypt, they’re not presenting you with stuff you ignored back when they were.

That is insanity to form such a strange limiting notion about research without the researcher choosing it.

The whole fun and value of google was to see the vast sources and variants of information on a particular word or phrase, not a narrow list based on how you used the word or phrase two months ago.

32 posted on 05/14/2012 1:09:34 PM PDT by ansel12 (Ann Romney, 1994 'We didn't know a single Republican when we jumped in in December,')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: ansel12

It’s not strange at all. If you actually search for something outside the “bubble” they’ll give it to you. What they’re not giving you is stuff you’ve shown a history of not being interested in that kind of fits your search criteria. So if every time you search for “international affairs” you’ve completely ignored everything relating to Egypt they stop giving it to you.

The fun and value of google for me is getting the information I was actually looking for, not random crap that might or might not be related whether interesting or not. If I’m looking for Egyptian restaurants while I might on a grander scale be interested in what’s going on in Egypt the links I’m primarily hoping for would be Egyptian restaurants within short drive of me. Blind dive searches are only for when I’m EXTREMELY bored, and I haven’t been that bored this century.


33 posted on 05/14/2012 1:23:30 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: cuban leaf

Start page still uses google though, but I do not know if the search results are still somehow personalized.

I use them for secure searches.


34 posted on 05/14/2012 1:24:03 PM PDT by Candor7 (Obama fascist info....http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: discostu

I do not like being a bubble boy.


35 posted on 05/14/2012 1:26:11 PM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Lazamataz

Yeah you do. You just don’t like the implications. But anytime that restaurant you were thinking about trying winds up in the first 5 links with driving directions from your house you LOVE the bubble.


36 posted on 05/14/2012 1:33:39 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: discostu
What they’re not giving you is stuff you’ve shown a history of not being interested in that kind of fits your search criteria. So if every time you search for “international affairs” you’ve completely ignored everything relating to Egypt they stop giving it to you.

That is the insanity, googling "international affairs" should be just that, it shouldn't be focused on that Cuban story you were concentrating on 6 months ago, or avoiding Egypt because they are reading your mind and thinking that no, this guy wants Cuba, when actually, Egypt is the dominate story currently and what triggered your search.

The first week or so that I ran into being locked in by that bubble, I was totally baffled by the whacky personalized links coming up, last night I was looking up "Numbers" a homosexual book from the 1960s to make a post here, the next time I am searching for numbers I doubt that it will have anything to do with that book, or homosexuality, or gay literature.

37 posted on 05/14/2012 1:45:03 PM PDT by ansel12 (Ann Romney, 1994 'We didn't know a single Republican when we jumped in in December,')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: discostu

So if I Google “Big Boobs” expecting to get Bill Clinton and Obama, but end up with a sex site, it’s because Google knows I like voluptuous women more than lying Democrats?


38 posted on 05/14/2012 1:58:03 PM PDT by CharacterCounts (A vote for the lesser of two evils only insures the triumph of evil.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: ansel12

There’s nothing insane about it. It’s following YOU, if you don’t click on those stories you clearly aren’t interested so why should it keep presenting them to you? They aren’t reading your mind they’re reading your HISTORY, they know what results you’ve clicked on from previous similar or identical searches in the past. And again, you can always cut through the bubble by making your search specific, they aren’t going to not give you stuff on the protests in Egypt if you search on “egypt protests” they’re only going to not give them to you if your search is on a broader term AND you’ve shown a clear history of completely ignoring that topic in the past.

One search probably isn’t going to be setting up an odd precedent. For stuff like that they’re looking for a pattern. If you’re regularly picking the gay link from seemingly unrelated google searches then yeah they’re gonna focus you down that path, but then if you’re regularly picking the gay link from seemingly unrelated google searches then that’s the path you’ve already been on, they’re just helping you out. One poke for a gay book from the ‘60s isn’t going to turn all of your number related searches into festivals of rainbow flags.

The whole thing is based on tendencies, not single occurrences which are often outliers and therefore not useful. The whole goal is to be useful, to make it more likely for the results you want to be in the first 5. So they pay attention to your patterns, what you’re actually clicking on so they can make it easier for you.


39 posted on 05/14/2012 2:00:08 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: CharacterCounts

Most folks do.

But if you go digging deep enough to eventually find the Clinton and Obama links and click on those and do it repeatedly eventually those are gonna be in your top 5.


40 posted on 05/14/2012 2:01:59 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: listenhillary

Google image Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin - you have to go pretty far down the Obama page to find parodies. Palin parodies start on page one.


41 posted on 05/14/2012 2:22:12 PM PDT by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: discostu
There’s nothing insane about it. It’s following YOU, if you don’t click on those stories you clearly aren’t interested so why should it keep presenting them to you? They aren’t reading your mind they’re reading your HISTORY, they know what results you’ve clicked on from previous similar or identical searches in the past.

That is the point, I don't have a research HISTORY, google is trying to make something that doesn't exist for me, I don't want it to try and establish a prediction for what I'm looking for.

They don't know what I am searching for, but they are determined to predict it based on what I looked for last time, when I type in "codpiece" I want to be exposed to an unpredictable variety of references about the search word "codpiece". I do not want to have google steering me to the United States Army's new codpiece because I was looking for a price on it six months ago.

I can see being limited by google search, working for teens and people with narrow, repetitive, interests, but it should be an option, it doesn't work for someone like me.

42 posted on 05/14/2012 3:02:59 PM PDT by ansel12 (Ann Romney, 1994 'We didn't know a single Republican when we jumped in in December,')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: ansel12

If you don’t have a research history then they aren’t doing much filtering for you. About the only filtering they do if you have no search history is if your search brings up businesses and they can decipher your IP into a rough location it’ll focus on businesses near you.

You really aren’t understanding the situation. A single search 6 months ago isn’t going to be refocusing results. Like I said before they look for TRENDS, a single search is an OUTLIER, they don’t want to follow outliers for exactly the reason you’re complaining. What they’re looking for is if you’ve searched on “breast plate” and “chain mail” and “glaive” in recent months then your search on “codpiece” is probably NOT going to be that Army piece, so they’ll focus your results toward Medieval weapony sites.

I bet it works great for somebody like you. You’re problem is you don’t like the stunning realization that you’re predictable. Welcome to the modern world of demographic analysis, EVERYBODY is predictable, and the MOST predictable people in the world are the ones that think they aren’t.


43 posted on 05/14/2012 3:13:29 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: Candor7

Ok.. I clicked on startpage and it says “enhanced by Google”. What in the world do they mean by enhanced? Thanks for the tip though.


44 posted on 05/15/2012 2:55:55 AM PDT by momincombatboots (Back to West by G-d Virginia.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson