Cookies and Filter Bubbles are feeding our bias.

Cookies and Filter Bubbles are feeding our bias.

And there are no calories involved here!

We all love a personalised social media feed and internet search results right? And to be fed information that is just for us?

The internet is a world full of business not a world of helping us to be open minded and informed. Businesses want to give us what we want so we keep coming back to their site. Makes sense. So what is the problem? No problem. We just need to be aware of how it works especially with cookies and filter bubbles.

Cookies and filter bubbles are tailoring our experiences to match us, not to match what is really out there.

Cookies and Filter Bubbles

Cookies are used by websites to understand and remember who is visiting their site. They store this information so they can personalise the site for us by remembering our click patterns and interests and showing us what we like. Websites such as Google can also enable third party cookies so our browser history and click patterns are also used to provide us with advertising that is relevant to us. Isn’t that great! Hmm…

A personalised feed sounds good doesn’t it? Well it is if you want to stay in your own little biased bubble.

Another thing worthy to note here is that Google and other search engines use personalised search algorithms. The results we receive are no longer based on a ranking system that displays web pages most relevant to our search request. Google uses something that has been described as a Filter Bubble. These filter bubbles or personalised search algorithms use our current browser history, past searches or click behaviour and location to make sure the web pages displayed are what we are looking for. This is good for business.

Searcher beware! We may be strengthening our biases on information that isn’t necessarily the truth but instead on information that we have already searched for. Google will present information it thinks we want to see.

Filter bubbles make sure that ‘users become separated from the information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in the their own cultural and ideological bubbles’.

Wikipedia

Ok so does this really matter? Well yes because we don’t even know it is happening. When we believe strongly in something, we are already blind or perhaps close minded. Being presented with information that already confirms what we know, can be detrimental to our health and our growth. We need to be presented information from all view points to be well informed.

So how do we get the information we aren’t looking for? Try logging out of Google so it doesn’t know who is searching. Use a different browser to compare search results. Be aware that social media contains a lot of misinformation or ‘fake news’. Question everything and seek new ways of finding your information.

Most of all, we must be open to challenging what we already know. Seek and you shall find.

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