Search Engine Land: Senate bill seeks to compel tech giants to offer ‘unfiltered’ versions of their content

Search Engine Land: Senate bill seeks to compel tech giants to offer ‘unfiltered’ versions of their content. “There’s a new bill circulating in the Senate that would require large internet companies to disclose that their results are using ‘opaque algorithms’ and offer consumers an option to see non-personalized search results or content, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) first reported. It’s called ‘The Filter Bubble Transparency Act.'”

Phys .org: Virtual spaces mirror income inequality

Phys .org: Virtual spaces mirror income inequality. “The Internet democratized the exchange of information, but the evolution of online social networks has mirrored the segregation of urban neighborhoods in real cities, according to NECSI’s analysis of millions of tweets. Social media users have organized themselves into economically segregated echo-chambers. This breakup of information reinforces the fragmentation and polarization of communities.”

The Divided States of America: How social media reveals social fragmentation (Phys .org)

Phys .org: The Divided States of America: How social media reveals social fragmentation. “Far from being an egalitarian melting pot of diverse opinions and worldviews, the Internet has grown to mirror the same social divisions that exist offline. The U.S. is fragmented into physically segregated communities with polarized idealogical differences. That is the conclusion of a new paper by the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. This paper quantifies the oft-repeated complaint that social media has become an echo chamber.”

Nieman Lab: Want to feel less anxious about the state of the world? Try diversifying your online news sources

Nieman Lab: Want to feel less anxious about the state of the world? Try diversifying your online news sources. “A new study suggests that consumers who actively take steps to diversify their news consumption — following accounts and news outlets that post a wide range of viewpoints, and interacting online with people who have different views from their own — feel less anxious about current events than people who don’t take such actions. ”

Forbes: Is Social Media Curating Hate And Scouring The Web For Our Greatest Fears?

Forbes: Is Social Media Curating Hate And Scouring The Web For Our Greatest Fears?. “Social media’s great promise was to connect the world. Yet rather than aggregate the world into a single real-time firehose, social platforms have increasingly turned to algorithmic curation to hand-feed us a perfectly personalized filter that appeals to our most intimate and powerful interests, desires and fears.”

Nieman Lab: Few people are actually trapped in filter bubbles. Why do they like to say that they are?

Nieman Lab: Few people are actually trapped in filter bubbles. Why do they like to say that they are?. “We’re not trapped in filter bubbles, but we like to act as if we are. Few people are in complete filter bubbles in which they only consume, say, Fox News, Matt Grossmann writes in a new report for Knight (and there’s a summary version of it on Medium here). But the ‘popular story of how media bubbles allegedly undermine democracy’ is one that people actually seem to enjoy clinging to.”

MIT Sloan Management Review: Twitter Is Not the Echo Chamber We Think It Is

MIT Sloan Management Review: Twitter Is Not the Echo Chamber We Think It Is. “We are in the midst of a public conversation about whether social media echo chambers facilitate the spreading of fake news or prevent constructive dialogue on public issues. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that he was experimenting with features to reduce echo chambers on Twitter by inserting content with alternative viewpoints into people’s feeds. In response, an op-ed in The New York Times predicted that this idea would backfire, citing recent research showing that exposing people to alternate viewpoints only makes them more partisan. The problem with this otherwise important debate is that it assumes that Twitter users exist in echo chambers in the first place. They don’t.”

Ars Technica: Being reminded of your political bubble can stop you from breaking out

Ars Technica: Being reminded of your political bubble can stop you from breaking out. “Using social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can connect us to many more people than we would otherwise interact with, which is great. But our choices regarding who we interact with (often amplified by a platform’s algorithms) limit many of our social networks in a way that keeps us tucked within an echo chamber of people who think like us. And in that mode, our social interaction may exacerbate tribal attitudes towards people outside our groups rather than breaking down barriers.”

Nieman Lab: Republicans who follow liberal Twitter bots actually become more conservative

Nieman Lab: Republicans who follow liberal Twitter bots actually become more conservative. “Social media companies have been big on injecting “alternative views” into users’ feeds — the idea, seemingly, being that exposing people to values and beliefs that conflict with their own will expand their worldviews or making them more tolerant. (See also: a zillion different ‘burst your bubble’ efforts. In some ways, this makes all the sense in the world. On the other hand, changing people’s minds is hard.” There are limitations to this study and I’m not here to make RB political. However I have severe problems with those folks who say, “All you have to do is explain your side and people will understand.” Would that were true, but it’s not.

MIT Technology Review: This is what filter bubbles actually look like

MIT Technology Review: This is what filter bubbles actually look like. “American public life has become increasingly ideologically segregated as newspapers have given way to screens. But societies have experienced extremism and fragmentation without the assistance of Silicon Valley for centuries. And the polarization in the US began long ago, with the rise of 24-hour cable news. So just how responsible is the internet for today’s divisions? And are they really as bad as they seem?”

2.7 billion tweets confirm: Echo chambers on Twitter are very real (EurekAlert)

EurekAlert: 2.7 billion tweets confirm: Echo chambers on Twitter are very real . “A recent study of more than 2.7 billion tweets between 2009 and 2016 confirms that Twitter users are exposed mainly to political opinions that agree with their own. It is the largest study to characterise echo chambers by both the content in them and the networks they comprise. The findings indicate a strong correlation between biases in the content people both produce and consume. In other words, echo chambers are very real on Twitter.”

The Next Web: Study shows social media echo chambers might actually be a good thing

The Next Web: Study shows social media echo chambers might actually be a good thing. “A group of researchers, as part of a social experiment, paid liberals and conservatives on Twitter to follow a bot for a month that tweeted political views from the other side. Shockingly, rather than softening their own views or learning to understand the opposition, most participants dug in deeper. We’re not partisan out of ignorance, it seems, but because we fundamentally disagree.”

Reuters: New German minister to challenge Google and Facebook’s presentation of news

Reuters: New German minister to challenge Google and Facebook’s presentation of news. “Germany’s incoming minister with responsibility for digital policy says she will push social media giants to make users’ information feeds more diverse and timely to avoid creating ‘echo chambers’ for the like-minded.”

CNET: For Congress members, divisive news is a hit on Facebook

CNET: For Congress members, divisive news is a hit on Facebook. “For Congress members, widening the political gap appears to lead to success on Facebook. People on Facebook shared and liked posts from politicians more often if they contained links to national news outlets on the most liberal or most conservative ends of the political spectrum, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.”

EurekAlert: Conflicting views on social media balanced by an algorithm

EurekAlert: Conflicting views on social media balanced by an algorithm . “Social media has become an important news source for a majority of adults. A common complaint is that social media help create echo chambers in which people reading information do not expose themselves to different viewpoints but are often confined to their own. … Researchers from Aalto University and University of Rome Tor Vergata have designed an algorithm that is able to balance the information exposure so that social media users can be exposed to information from both sides of the discussion.”