Friday, May 27, 2011

Eli Pariser on "The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You” (with video)

Democracy Now! video (23:00):
The Internet is increasingly becoming an echo-chamber in which websites tailor information according to the preferences they detect in each viewer. When some users search the word “Egypt” they may get the latest news about the revolution, others might only see search results about Egyptian vacations. The top 50 websites collect an average of 64 bits of personal information each time we visit—and then custom-designs their sites to conform to our perceived preferences. What impact will this online filters have on the future of democracy? We speak to Eli Pariser, author of "The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You.” “Take news about the war in Afghanistan. When you talk to people who run news websites, they will tell you, stories about the war in Afghanistan don’t perform very well, they don’t get a lot of clicks–people don’t flock to them. And yet, this is arguably one of the most important issues facing the country,” says Pariser. “But it will never make it through these filters. Especially on Facebook, this is a problem because the way that information is transmitted on Facebook is with the ‘Like’ button. And the ‘Like’ button has a very particular balance. It is easy to click ‘Like’ on ‘I just ran a marathon’ or ‘I baked a really awesome cake.’ It is very hard to click ‘Like’ on ‘War in Afghanistan enters its 10th year.’”

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