Web Personalization Decreases Exposure To Different Ideas

FutureTracker| Speaking at TED.com in LongBeach this week, political activist and former executive director of MoveOn.org Eli Pariser told the audience that the myth of the Internet’s ability to broaden people’s horizons, cultural awareness and exposure to new or contrary viewpoints is only half true.

Google and Facebook have highly developed algorithms that deliver us what they decide we want.

Take his Facebook page, for example. Pariser used to receive comments and links from readers on both sides of the political spectrum. Then one day he noticed his conservative friends had disappeared; only links from his liberal friends remained. Facebook, without asking him, had seen that he clicked more often on links from left-leaning friends and simply edited out the rest. The site used an algorithm that hides from view the kinds of content it has determined, from your past activity, that you are less likely to interact with.

There is no such thing as a standard search anymore, says Pariser. Google considers 57 different criteria in determining an individuals search results, all personalized for each individual based on past behavior. Read on at Wired.com.