So you go online and noodle around, and if you’re like many other Internet users, you “Like” things on Facebook, buy some stuff and perhaps use Gmail. Somewhere in there, the little gnomes from Google and other data-gathering superpowers cobble together your cyber-profile. This allows marketers and info-peddlers to pitch products and ideas that are both based upon and aimed at reinforcing your interests.
So what, as this New York Times article wonders, could be wrong with this equation? —KA
The New York Times:
Plenty, according to Eli Pariser, the author of “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You.” Personalization on the Web, he says, is becoming so pervasive that we may not even know what we’re missing: the views and voices that challenge our own thinking.
“People love the idea of having their feelings affirmed,” Mr. Pariser told me earlier this month. “If you can provide that warm, comfortable sense without tipping your hand that your algorithm is pandering to people, then all the better.”
Mr. Pariser, the board president of the progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org, recounted a recent experience he had on Facebook. He went out of his way to “friend” people with conservative politics. When he didn’t click on their updates as often as those of his like-minded contacts, he says, the system dropped the outliers from his news feed.