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Evaluating Sources: ACT UP: Bursting your filter bubble
Did you know that you have a filter bubble around you right now? That every time you do a search on Google, it tailors the results based on your previous search history? Did you know that your search results will look different if you use Google on campus as opposed to using it at a cafe in Beverly? It's because Google is making certain assumptions about you based on your IP address. While we all like customized information there is a real danger of being so trapped inside your filter bubble that you never see the other side of a story. In order to be better informed, we need to know what each side is saying about an issue and not fall for confirmation bias (reading only sources that already fall in line with our current views). Here are two free resources to help you do just that!
Websites such as Facebook and Google use information about our previous behaviour to prioritize and display information for us. This phenomenon is sometimes called a 'filter bubble' because it means we are less likely to find information that is novel or challenging. Filter bubbles may reinforce anti-science health beliefs and make it harder to disseminate evidence-based information to the people that need it most.
CHALLENGING ALGORITHMS OF OPPRESSION
Safiya Noble is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Studies in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. In her PDF 2016 talk, Noble explains why we should care about commercial spaces dominating our information landscape.
HOW TO BURST YOUR BUBBLE
You can actively take control of your media consumption and step outside your filter bubble. Here's how:
Stop getting your news from just social media platforms.
Instead use feedly to see what other sites are reporting on and how they are reporting it.
Develop a healthy news diet by choosing a variety of domestic and international news sites and local sites with a wide range of viewpoints.
This helps limit the power and reach of huge media corporations who control what we see and hear about. It also helps you learn what others are saying/thinking/writing about a topic.
Read things you disagree with. Otherwise we are participating in confirmation bias.
Go past the first page of results. Search engines know most of us only look at page one results so they push the content they want us to read there first. Keep going to page 2 and even page 3 to see information you wouldn't normally see.
Use a search engine like DuckDuckGo that does not track your search history and actively blocks adverting trackers.