It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Internet Contributes to Polarization

Does this count as "ironic"?

Personally, I found Facebook unusably irritating until I discovered the "Most Recent" feature which turns off its purported helpfulness and just provides you with a temporal sequence of everything you asked for.

Yes, this is relevant. We do this filtering to ourselves. Our web services are only too happy to oblige.


bluegrue said...

There seem to be attempts to do the filtering for you:

I wouldn't be surprised, if other groups of different political leaning would do the same, though.

Tom Fiddaman said...

Some aspects of filtering have been around for a long time, but this upsets the balance between positive and negative feedbacks in information flow.

The danger of path-dependent information flows on the web

Ankhesenpaaten said...

People want to have their preconceptions validated. The internet is a great place for that because regardless of how peculiar your notion, there is a website that will confirm it for you.

I suspect that if Google starts injecting contrary viewpoints, and Bing prioritizes results based on what you and your facebook friends have "liked" (which they do), then people will reject Google and favour Bing.

I agree that this is bad. The only answer would be a search engine that favours truth. Would such a thing even be possible?

Ankhesenpaaten said...

It looks like WUWT believes that Google already has a truth bias: Watts up with my low hit count?

They blame this for their poor readership.

Most WUWT readers have switched to Bing. People want their preconceptions validated, not challenged.