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Fake News: Separating Fact from Fiction

What is a filter bubble?

filter bubble is a term coined by the Internet activist Eli Pariser to refer to a state of intellectual isolation that can result from personalized searches when a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user, such as location, past click-behavior and search history. As a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles. The choices made by these algorithms are not transparent. Prime examples include Google Personalized Search results and Facebook's personalized news-stream. The bubble effect may have negative implications for civic discourse, according to Pariser, but contrasting views regard the effect as minimal and addressable. The results of the U.S. presidential election in 2016 have been associated with the influence of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and as a result have called into question the effects of the "filter bubble" phenomenon on user exposure to fake news and echo chambers, spurring new interest in the term, with many concerned that the phenomenon may harm democracy and well-being by making the effects of misinformation worse.(Taken from Wikipedia)

Beware of Online Filter Bubbles

Presented by Eli Pariser at a TED Talk in Long Beach, CA in February 2011.

Confirmation Bias

Since the content seen by individual social media users is influenced by algorithms that produce filter bubbles, users of social media platforms are more susceptible to confirmation bias and may be exposed to biased, misleading information. Confirmation Bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses (Taken from Wikipedia).

The video below explains what confirmation bias is and provides examples.

The video below shares several ways to avoid or lessen confirmation bias.

Other psychology terms related to beliefs and social influence: 

  • Motivated Reasoning is an emotion-biased decision-making phenomenon studied in cognitive science and social psychology. This term describes the role of motivation in cognitive processes such as decision-making and attitude change in a number of paradigms, including: Cognitive dissonance reduction; beliefs about others on whom one's own outcomes depend; and evaluation of evidence related to one's own outcomes.
  • Collective or Group Identity is a person’s sense of belonging to a particular group. At its core, the concept describes social influence within a group
  • Cognitive Dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. The occurrence of cognitive dissonance is a consequence of a person's performing an action that contradicts personal beliefs, ideals, and values; and also occurs when confronted with new information that contradicts said beliefs, ideals, and values.

Definitions taken from Wikipedia

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