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Evaluating sources of information

Library resources to help you evaluate information for your research and assignments.

Filter bubble

Along with help on analysing news stories and evaluating information provided on this guide, it is also important to be aware of the issues of personalisation, filter bubbles and echo chambers when interacting with online media sources.  These issues are also an important aspect of your digital identity.

The term 'filter bubble' was coined by Eli Pariser, author of the book The filter bubble: what the Internet is hiding from you. According to Pariser, as our online experience has become increasingly personalised, we are at risk of being isolated from information which does not fit with our existing views and opinions. This personalisation works by platform and website algorithms selecting the information we see online, based on our previous online activity, for example, our search history, and what we chose to click on, share and comment on.  It has been argued that an 'echo chamber' of information ensues which serves to reinforce our existing beliefs as we are less exposed to differing viewpoints and opinions.

Along with links to Eli Pariser's book and Ted Talk, below is a selection of journal articles, discussing filter bubbles, personalisation and digital identity from different perpectives.

Haim, M., Graefe, A. and Brosius, H. (2018) 'Burst of the filter bubble? Effects of personalization on the diversity of Google News.' Digital Journalism, 6(3), pp. 330-343.

Bozdag, E. and van den Hoven, J. (2015) ‘Breaking the filter bubble: democracy and design.’ Ethics and Information Technology, 17(4) pp. 249-265.

Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (2018) ‘Social media and the future of open debate: a user-oriented approach to Facebook’s filter bubble conundrum.’ Discourse, Context and Media. [Online] ‘In Press’ published 10th April 2018. [Accessed on 8th August 2018] DOI: 10.1016/j.dcm.2018.03.005

Beck, E. N. (2015) ‘The invisible digital identity: assemblages in digital networks.’ Computers and Composition, 35, March, pp. 125-140.

Bozdag, E. (2013) ‘Bias in algorithmic filtering and personalization.’ Ethics and Information Technology, 15(3) pp. 209 - 227.

Eli Pariser's filter bubble