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Monday, 29 May 2017 21:07

Social media filter bubbles could create ‘frogs in internet well’

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Digital marketing professional Jayakumar K says users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MAY 29:  

Google and other social-media networks’ resort to ‘filter bubbles’ to divide users into like-minded people will only create a community of ‘frogs in the internet well,’ says an expert.

Filter bubbles created by personalised search technologies restrict a user’s perspective, says Jayakumar K, a digital marketing professional and CEO, Cearsleg Technologies.

 

Data analytics

A Google analytics expert, Jayakumar also holds the honorary position of a Deputy Commander with the Kerala Police CyberDome here. Google and major social-media companies employ complex data analytics to restrict the access to actual or full facts about a subject.

Personalised search results generated by these bots will give information that may not be adequate, correct or complete.

Google updates its ‘personalised searched’ algorithms and Facebook its ‘personalised news-stream’ algorithms to isolate users in this manner, Jayakumar said.

Ideological bubbles

Users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles.

The aim is to retain publishers to help drive revenue, by forcing them to use paid activity for a longer period.

But this could in turn create an ‘echo-chamber’ effect as users search for information related to a particular topic and bump into each other.

They become insulated within their own online community and fail to get exposed to different views.

The resulting narrow information base could have its own adverse impact on critical discourse on the online medium and, by extension, freedom of expression, Jayakumar said.

Continual process

Google and Facebook claim their latest change in algorithms aims to prioritise content from friends over those of brands.

This is part of a continual process of improving the user experience, they aver. But it could be also an attempt to further limit the ‘organic reach’ of publishers, Jayakumar counters.

According to the latest reports, the European Union has taken measures to lessen the impact of the filter bubble in that region. It is sponsoring inquiries into how filter bubbles affect people’s ability to access diverse news.

India will be better advised to exercise caution and limit the impact of filter bubbles on online discourse in the country, Jayakumar said.

Source: This article was published thehindubusinessline.com By VINSON KURIAN

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