Book Review: Filter Bubble a Review

Pages: 17 (5412 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 25  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Education - Computers  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Neutrality Not Swiss

What is happening essentially, or the moral of the story one might say, is that what was once an open and free system that promoted a greater exchange of information, is something that is now becoming a walled system. Pariser points out that the Internet actually hides information. Hiding, secrecy and censoring is more like socialism than it is a democratic system. As the Economist points out in many of its pieces, and as in one article quoted, "The Web is Dead" as Wired magazine quoted recently' although this goes a bit further than many expect the case will go. Although, this may not be such a bad thing, as some customers favor using some products over others. Apple for example, delights in working with its loyal customers, who may prefer trading a universal system for working with their preferred provider. Clientele are probably more likely to protest having to deal with restrictions presented by the government (Economist, 2010 Feb). The Economist also pointed out that Australia is planning to build a firewall that is similar to the one the Chinese put in place, but it is to help block child pornography and instructions for making bombs. However, there are many that oppose this, thinking it is a bad idea and easy to avoid. There are better ways to handle such problems, believe consumers. And, problems such as these have been dealt with more effectively using other methods over time.

Hasn't censorship been something that mankind has had to deal with for centuries? Has blocking a particular service or section of something ever really been an effective way to manage it? What happens when something that is popular grows to the point when authorities consider it unmanageable? Is knowledge and information ever something that the government can really control anyway?


In the first section, Pariser discusses what the internet knows about you. The internet essentially focuses on personalization. This is particularly true of Google, the mega site that in recent years has focused on creating personalized "experiences" for its clients. When visitors search on Google, no longer does the site pull up "random" selections. Rather, each visitor that comes to Google will pull up "personalized" search results, even if two people type in the same search terms. This is because Google, like many other sites including Facebook, is concerned with creating algorithms that will please its visitors and customers. But the bottom line isn't about customers either, it is about making money. This is what all things in society boil down to, making money. Many believe this is why the quality of so many things in society today has deteriorated. Good quality products have declined because it is cheaper to make products faster and with cheaper plastic. Quality writing is impossible to find so reality television has gone mainstream. Personalizing the internet leads to more satisfied customers that can live in personalized bubbles and live independently of anyone else. Thus, the filter bubble exists.

In Part two of his work, Pariser introduces the idea of the "user" as "content." Content did not have to be premium now to attract users; rather advertisers focused on the users themselves, finding other ways to attract users by focusing on what they paid attention to rather than trying to attract them with material. The NY Times and The Washington Post used to be the way to find users. Not so anymore. Now the cost of distributing media is next to zero. Now anyone can produce news, information on the net. Anyone with a laptop. A report in The Economist entitled "The wiki way" notes that content users are increasingly popular. In 2007 following a disputed election in Kenya, a local lawyer and blogger put up a website that allowed anyone with a mobile phone or internet connection to put up reports of outbreaks of violence including killings and beatings. The idea was a success, allowing the site to grow where people throughout the world starting posting incidents on a map throughout various parts of the world It allowed people to post other incidents including the impact of natural disasters such as earthquakes. In this manner people and local media can see what people are actually interested in reporting; the site embodied user-generated content. And, traditional media was not interested in reporting or even investigating, and it would not have mattered, because reportedly they did not have the money to. But thanks to the internet, such tracking and user-directed reporting is possible. Professional editing and reporting is expensive, but web-generated content is not. Human curators determining what news should be consumed has become a more common and plausible answer to the human condition (Pariser, p. 51).

In, "The Adderall Society" Pariser describes the phenomenon is a society that is addicted to staying up and "dong," tackling something or tackling complex structures by "tacking the inside of the box to the wall, then placing the candle in the box" (p. 98). This idea is that people will pop pills now to stay up hours to be on the web connected to each other. Experts have studied years to understand what the common man has understood much better for ages. That is that our heads are connected in networks and hierarchies much like in the Net. And that experts predictions are much less valuable in many respects than the commoner's opinions and beliefs, which are most easily spread through networks and maps on the Web. The Web is a network of maps that lead consumers from one place to another. What is locked up on the head is brilliantly explained by various people in many new and interested ways through various codes and networks. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and that is most easily explained when many different people are unlocking the many different doors on the Web with many different keys. Some unlock doors in the same mansion, and others simply unlock many mansions in the same city. What happens however, is balance, but it still remains in the bubble. What happens is less and less variety for the people with the key, because essentially you get less and less creativity. When people start sharing information on the Web, they have a tendency to overlook certain things. Some people are easily distracted, and other people are not. This is a point that Pariser makes clear. What the Internet can have a tendency of doing is making certain information come to the top of the pile, and make other information tend to disappear. By taking into account what people want to hear, and downplaying what certain individuals do not want to hear, relevant information to society that people "should" hear may never get out into the open. Some information that is "good" for people may never get into the open, or become popular information. People may become heterogeneous addicts to reality type television. This isn't necessarily a good thing. People may become lost in a world of bubbles. The more educated may tend to consume news that is helpful, but they may also become what Pariser refers to as "mis-educated" (p. 89) with leanings that are too far to the left or right. Balance is critical to anyone's livelihood. If you take someone that is interested in the lives of serial killers, and you allow them to read about this topic 24 hours a day, then undoubtedly over time one will breed a bit of paranoia in the person. Balance is essential to the health and wellness of anyone. If everything in the world is filtered, it does not provide opportunities for creative learning. Different types of stimulus are essential for creative learning.

Diversity according to Pariser, is what makes learning creative, because it provides the stimulus to learn things that are not similar to ourselves. Traditionally, diversity has always been something that was promoted, whether in schools, or in corporate facilities, or in nations as a whole. This at least, was what was promoted on the surface. Underneath the surface however, perhaps diversity was not as loved and well liked as people suggested. From a scientific standpoint however, diversity has always been beneficial. It stimulates the cognitive and perceptual parts of the brain to discover new things and create new electronic pathways. Without new stimulus, the brain has no motivation to create open-mindedness that will stimulate focus for creativity. The comparison to Adderall is made because of this lack of creativity. Adderall improves focus by encouraging the brain to focus, but only on one thing. It promotes a narrow focus. Thus, people are able to focus on things for extended periods of time, but only one thing. This works for purposes of the filter bubble, because if all distractions are filtered out, then internet users need to focus on only one topic area. This allows them to go for hours and hours with the only requirement… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Filter Bubble a Review.  (2011, October 19).  Retrieved June 20, 2019, from

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"Filter Bubble a Review."  19 October 2011.  Web.  20 June 2019. <>.

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"Filter Bubble a Review."  October 19, 2011.  Accessed June 20, 2019.