Tags: filter bubble*

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  1. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook today, “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri tells TechCrunch “I expect that the amount of distribution for publishers will go down because a lot of publisher content is just passively consumed and not talked about. Overall time on Facebook will decrease, but we think this is the right thing to do.”

    The winners in this change will be users and their sense of community, since they should find Facebook more rewarding and less of a black hole of wasted time viewing mindless video clips and guilty-pleasure articles. And long-term, it should preserve Facebook’s business and ensure it still has a platform to provide referral traffic for news publishers and marketers, albeit less than before.

    The biggest losers will be publishers who’ve shifted resources to invest in eye-catching pre-recorded social videos, because Mosseri says “video is such a passive experience”. He admits that he expects publishers to react with “a certain amount of scrutiny and anxiety”, but didn’t have many concrete answers about how publishers should scramble to react beyond “experimenting . . . and seeing . . what content gets more comments, more likes, more reshares.”
    https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/11/facebook-time-well-spent
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  2. Facebook has turned into a toxic commodity since Mr Trump was elected. Big Tech is the new big tobacco in Washington. It is not a question of whether the regulatory backlash will come, but when and how.

    Mr Zuckerberg bears responsibility for this. Having denied Facebook’s “filter bubble” played any role in Mr Trump’s victory — or Russia’s part in helping clinch it — Mr Zuckerberg is the primary target of the Democratic backlash. He is now asking America to believe that he can turn Facebook’s news feed from an echo chamber into a public square. Revenue growth is no longer the priority. “None of that matters if our services are used in a way that doesn’t bring people closer together,” he says.

    How will Mr Zuckerberg arrange this Kumbaya conversion? By boosting the community ties that only Facebook can offer. Readers will forgive me if I take another lie down. Mr Zuckerberg suffers from two delusions common to America’s new economy elites. They think they are nice people — indeed, most of them are. Mr Zuckerberg seems to be, too. But they tend to cloak their self-interest in righteous language. Talking about values has the collateral benefit of avoiding talking about wealth. If the rich are giving their money away to good causes, such as inner city schools and research into diseases, we should not dwell on taxes. Mr Zuckerberg is not funding any private wars in Africa. He is a good person. The fact that his company pays barely any tax is therefore irrelevant.

    The second liberal delusion is to believe they have a truer grasp of people’s interests than voters themselves. In some cases that might be true. It is hard to see how abolishing health subsidies will help people who live in “flyover” America. But here is the crux. It does not matter how many times Mr Zuckerberg invokes the magic of online communities. They cannot substitute for the real ones that have gone missing. Bowling online together is no cure for bowling offline alone.

    The next time Mr Zuckerberg wants to showcase Facebook, he should invest some of his money in an actual place. It should be far away from any of America’s booming cities — say Youngstown, Ohio. For the price of a couple of days’ Facebook revenues, he could train thousands of people. He might even fund a newspaper to make up for social media’s destruction of local journalism. The effect could be electrifying. Such an example would bring a couple more benefits. First, it would demonstrate that Mr Zuckerberg can listen, rather than pretending to. Second, people will want to drop round to his place for dinner.
    https://medium.com/financial-times/the-zuckerberg-delusion-5d427c5d699a
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  3. In Slovakia, data from Facebook-owned analytics site CrowdTangle shows that “interactions” – engagement such as likes, shares and comments – fell by 60% overnight for the Facebook pages of a broad selection of the country’s media Facebook pages. Filip Struhárik, a Slovakian journalist with news site Denník N, says the situation has since worsened, falling by a further 5%.

    “Lower reach can be a problem for smaller publishers, citizens’ initiatives, small NGOs,” Struhárik said. “They can’t afford to pay for distribution on Facebook by boosting posts – and they don’t have infrastructure to reach people other ways.”

    Struhárik thinks his employer will survive the change. Denník N has subscription revenue, which means it doesn’t rely on the vast traffic that Facebook can drive for advertising income, and ensures that its most dedicated readers go straight to its homepage for their news. But Fernandez, in Guatemala, is much more concerned.
    https://www.theguardian.com/technolog...rnalists-democracy-guatemala-slovakia
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  4. The problem is this: Facebook has become a feedback loop which can and does, despite its best intentions, become a vicious spiral. At Facebook’s scale, behavioral targeting doesn’t just reflect our behavior, it actually influences it. Over time, a service which was supposed to connect humanity is actually partitioning us into fractal disconnected bubbles.

    The way Facebook’s News Feed works is that the more you “engage” with posts from a particular user, the more often their posts are shown to you. The more you engage with a particular kind of post, the more you will see its ilk. So far so good! It’s just showing you what you’ve demonstrated you’re interested in. What’s wrong with that?

    The answer is twofold. First, this eventually constructs a small “in-group” cluster of Facebook friends and topics that dominate your feed; and as you grow accustomed to interacting with them, this causes your behavior to change, and you interact with them even more, reinforcing their in-group status … and (relatively) isolating you from the rest of your friends, the out-group.

    Second, and substantially worse, because “engagement” is the metric, Facebook inevitably selects for the shocking and the outrageous. Ev Williams summed up the results brilliantly:

    Of course this doesn’t just apply to Facebook.
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/04/whe...m_source=tctwreshare&sr_share=twitter
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  5. The bubble filter demonstrates the internet as shifting from a tool of global connectivity to individual disconnect; personal opinion becomes fossilised while public discourse withers away. Without meaningful public discourse, the internet exposes us to competing opinions only through (often anonymous) trolling. This is dangerous. With little to no space for productive debate, ideological conflicts are carried out institutionally – as evinced by the onslaught of fake news accusations that characterised the final American presidential debate.

    When we live in bubbles, we forget how to engage and disagree in a civil manner.

    As a product of the neoliberal project, the bubble filter caters to our perceived demands for constant personalised stimulation and to the commodification of the digital experience. We find ourselves further removed from neighbours to whom we occupy distant ideological worlds; we cease to understand each other as we increasingly lack basic exposure to each other. When we live in bubbles, we forget how to engage and disagree in a civil manner. This situation has the potential to normalise extreme polarity and reactionary populism. Left without public forums to negotiate competing worldviews and engage with each other, we should not be surprised if ideological conflicts start to increasingly escalate in violent ways.
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/digital...erm=0_717bc5d86d-5aca16cdcc-407399415
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  6. Esplora il significato del termine: L’attenzione a come ci sentiamo, di cui adesso comprendiamo bene la ragione, non è una novità: nel giugno del 2014, Facebook ha pubblicato i risultati di un esperimento che aveva esposto quasi 700 mila utenti a contenuti soprattutto positivi o soprattutto negativi. Lo scopo? Studiare le reazioni. Il passo successivo? Rivendersele, pare. » L’attenzione a come ci sentiamo, di cui adesso comprendiamo bene la ragione, non è una novità: nel giugno del 2014, Facebook ha pubblicato i risultati di un esperimento che aveva esposto quasi 700 mila utenti a contenuti soprattutto positivi o soprattutto negativi. Lo scopo? Studiare le reazioni. Il passo successivo? Rivendersele, pare.
    http://www.corriere.it/tecnologia/soc...f16-2e64-11e7-8176-4e0249fd95d5.shtml
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  7. Facebook’s entire project, when it comes to news, rests on the assumption that people’s individual preferences ultimately coincide with the public good, and that if it doesn’t appear that way at first, you’re not delving deeply enough into the data. By contrast, decades of social-science research shows that most of us simply prefer stuff that feels true to our worldview even if it isn’t true at all and that the mining of all those preference signals is likely to lead us deeper into bubbles rather than out of them.

    What’s needed, he argues, is some global superstructure to advance humanity.

    This is not an especially controversial idea; Zuckerberg is arguing for a kind of digital-era version of the global institution-building that the Western world engaged in after World War II. But because he is a chief executive and not an elected president, there is something frightening about his project. He is positioning Facebook — and, considering that he commands absolute voting control of the company, he is positioning himself — as a critical enabler of the next generation of human society. A minor problem with his mission is that it drips with megalomania, albeit of a particularly sincere sort. With his wife, Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg has pledged to give away nearly all of his wealth to a variety of charitable causes, including a long-term medical-research project to cure all disease. His desire to take on global social problems through digital connectivity, and specifically through Facebook, feels like part of the same impulse.

    Yet Zuckerberg is often blasé about the messiness of the transition between the world we’re in and the one he wants to create through software. Building new “social infrastructure” usually involves tearing older infrastructure down. If you manage the demolition poorly, you might undermine what comes next.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/ma...n-facebook-fix-its-own-worst-bug.html
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  8. Overall, our results showed that, while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being. These results were particularly strong for mental health; most measures of Facebook use in one year predicted a decrease in mental health in a later year. We found consistently that both liking others’ content and clicking links significantly predicted a subsequent reduction in self-reported physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction.
    https://hbr.org/2017/04/a-new-more-ri...e-you-use-facebook-the-worse-you-feel
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  9. They forgot that the world doesn’t run on information. People don’t make decisions based on truth or facts. They don’t spend their money based on data.

    The world runs on feelings.

    And when you give the average person an infinite reservoir of human wisdom, they will not Google for the higher truth that contradicts their own convictions. They will not Google for what is true yet unpleasant. Instead, most of us will Google for what is pleasant but untrue.

    Having an errant racist thought? Well, there’s a whole forum of racists two clicks away with a lot of convincing-sounding arguments as to why you shouldn’t be so ashamed to have racist leanings.

    Ex-wife leaves you and you start thinking women are inherently selfish and evil? Doesn’t take a creative Google search to find more than you would ever need to believe that women are biologically inferior.

    Think Muslims are going to stalk from school to school murdering your children? I’m sure there’s a conspiracy theory somewhere out there that’s already confirming that.

    The internet, in the end, was not designed to give people the information they need. It gives people the information they want.

    And sadly, there’s a huge difference.
    Echo chamber cartoon by David Byrne
    By David Byrne

    For instance, I badly want to believe that the Trump administration is floundering and is on the brink of collapse all but a month into its tenure. And without asking, Facebook dutifully shows me articles validating this desire every single day.

    Yet, when I force myself to visit conservative websites, to look at polling data, to dig into primary sources and look at historical analogs, I see that this probably isn’t true. That we’re not in a clown car careening off a cliff. And if we are, Trump probably isn’t the one driving it, he’s just the hood ornament.

    But the fact that I’m most easily given the information that confirms my fears and quells my insecurities—this is the problem. This same network of systems designed to make me feel good every time I open my laptop is the same network of systems that is disconnecting me—disconnecting us—from the rest of our country and often from reality itself.

    Economics 101 teaches us that when there’s an oversupply of something, people value it less. If we wake up tomorrow and there are suddenly 3 billion extra lawnmowers in the US, the price of lawnmowers will plummet. If suddenly everyone had a Louis Vuitton bag, nobody would care about Louis Vuitton anymore. People would throw them out, forget them, spill wine on them, and give them away to charities.

    What if the same is true for information? What if increasing the supply of information to the point where it’s limitless has made us value any particular piece of information less?

    The problem is, as far as I can tell, the internet and its technologies don’t deliver us from tribalism. They don’t deliver us from our baser instincts. They do the opposite. They mainline tribalism into our eyeballs. And what we’re seeing is the beginning of that terrifying impact.

    This is despite the fact that war, violent crime, and authoritarianism are at their lowest points in world history, and education, life expectancy, and income are at their highest in world history.2

    It doesn’t matter, everyone thinks the world is going to hell in a handbasket anyway.

    And if everyone is feeling this way at once, despite the realities, it can’t be because the radical left is winning or the radical right is winning or the patriarchy or communists or Muslims or anarcho-fascist-ballerinas are winning.

    It can only be because our information is losing.
    https://markmanson.net/everything-is-fucked
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  10. Wikipedia –though not very well accepted in academic spheres- somehow gives a clear definition of what an echo chamber is in media terms: “the situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed or otherwise underrepresented”. It is the media effect caused by audiences seeking certain news sources online that are compatible with their world view or way of thinking. Psychologists have proved that people “generally prefer and are better at understanding information that accords with their existing schemas” 7 » , limiting their chance of encountering new or dramatically different ideas. This process of having the public divided into echo chambers seriously jeopardizes democratic citizenship. In an agonistic society where fragmented audiences have totally different ideas and thoughts, it’s of vital importance that they share them with each other, discuss, and debate, even if they don’t arrive to a conclusive solution or consensus. It’s part of the democratic life to be able to embrace different ideas and accept the critics that others have to make of ours.

    This “echo chambers” effect is not only produced by the mere consuming of certain news sources instead of others, but also because we usually share our ideas and make friends with people that think like us and that have our same values. In this way, our own ideas are replicated and even magnified by our closer social groups, reinforcing the ideas and making them more true and convincing to us than before.

    On the other hand, the “Filter Bubble” is another effect produced mainly by new digital media that adds up to the “echo chamber” problem and the lack of plurality in news online. Like Robin Foster explains in his report News Plurality in a Digital World, “through the filtering of stories via friends, or via the personalization of search, digital media encourages people to remain within their own comfort zone” 8 » . The term “Filter Bubble” describes the phenomenon by which social networks and search engines “use algorithms and personal data to select only content which matches existing tastes and preferences” 9 » . This process keeps on making hard for citizens to encounter opposing ideas that would trigger a debate or change their way of thinking. It also has a negative effect on democratic participation, closing the development of publics and exchanges that are vital to democracy.
    https://talkingpoliticsjomc.wordpress...lter-bubbles-in-the-new-digital-world
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-02-24)
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