Online Filter Bubbles and Facebook's New Timeline

Online Filter Bubbles and Facebook's New Timeline
Eli's Filter Bubble
Image courtesy of the Ted Conference.

Filter Bubbles are becoming a way of life as Eli Pariser  describes in the following video entitled Beware [of] online “filter bubbles.” Filter Bubbles are simply the content filtering that sites use to personal content to its users.

In the age of having everything personalized Facebook’s new timeline once again proves filtering content is growing.

Eli starts with quoting Mark Zuckerberg about the news feed. A journalist asked him, “Why is this so important?” And Zuckerberg said, “A squirrel dying in your front yard may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.”


The new Facebook news feed has an even further filter on it. Recently, we changed to having “Top News” as the default option. In the new Newsfeed once again what was called “Top News” is now at the top of your screen and further down the page you find recent stories.

A new change Facebook has made is with-in your profile timeline. The timeline on your profile will show you a history of your life chronologically. However, if Facebook feels the information isn’t important it minimizes it into a gray dot that expands when you click on them. On my personal profile timeline these filter bubbles are in full effect leaving large gaps in my profile. Does this mean I am not interesting enough to myself?

These types of changes are exactly what Eli is referring to. Facebook is building a world based on a web it thinks we like. As he stated this has become a way of life for many web companies.

The only way to fight these filter bubbles is to not use the personalization features these companies are putting into effect. Very few of them have way to turn off the personal features. Google does have the ability to turn personalized search results here.

I invite you to share in the comments how you think filter bubbles effect your life online. Personally, I find the interaction on my Facebook posts are down and I am finding less information that puts me in “awe.”