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Techdirt Podcast Episode 99: Debating The Facebook Filter Bubble, With Mathew Ingram

from the bubble-bursting dept

Though the notion of the Facebook "filter bubble" has been around for a while, it's picked up a huge amount of steam following the election of Donald Trump — perhaps just a little too much steam. While Techdirt has long been of the opinion that pointing fingers at Facebook is misguided, there are plenty of people who disagree. This week, we're joined by one such person — long-time media commentator and senior editor at Fortune Mathew Ingram — for a lively debate about just how much of a problem the filter bubble really is, and how you'd go about solving it.

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  • identicon
    Bobby, 15 Nov 2016 @ 2:41pm

    Still listening to this - but on the subject of fake news, every time i shop at a non-trader joes, whole foods, co-op, etc... there are TABLOIDS all over the register with rumors of the obamas getting divorced, hillary murder stories, etc.

    I think in a way seeing these things TWICE really validates these insane(?) ideas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Nov 2016 @ 3:16pm

    This is a great discussion.

    In my view, Facebook's news feed analogous to the magazine stand of the past. It aggregates and makes available many different news sources with various points of view and levels of trustworthiness. Faux journalism like tabloids have been around for ages, right next to more authoritative news outlets, and usually consumers can discern the difference.

    But now imagine the person behind the newsstand subtly curates the titles on the rack based on what _they think_ you might want to read. Of course this would have happened in the past at the newsstand as well - but the old newsstand pandered to its _average reader_, while Facebook panders to the _individual_. That is a fundamental change from the old newsstand, and leads to an over-representation of extreme viewpoints, and a false suppression of contradictory points of view.

    Facebook could address this issue by giving its users the power to adjust the news filter algorithm for themselves. Then its users would knowingly and voluntarily choose to live in a bubble - or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2016 @ 2:23pm

    It feels like Matthew would be happy to give the FB feed over to the NYT. He isn't upset with the control, just who has it. Of course, If you did that, no one would use FB.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    letherial (profile), 16 Nov 2016 @ 8:43pm

    There is no answer for the current crop of FB idiots. Fact is, a huge chunk of Americans where never taught any critical thinking skills and this is the reason why these bubbles exists in the first place.

    The only thing that can be done is to teach the current generation of children critical thinking skills and to make sure they understand the internet is not void of the necessary practice.

    This is a consequence to having a stupid public and is a great example on why proper education from birth on up is needed for a free society to function correctly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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