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Fake News

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Filter Bubbles Explained

"Filter bubbles" are created by a website -- or social media feed -- customize what you are delivered based on your previous searches, location, and clicking history. (For a thought-provoking TED talk delivered by Eli Pariser, see Beware online "filter bubbles.")

See only what you want to see, and nothing else. In many ways this is a good thing. The other perspective, however, is that the personalization results is an "intellectual isolation," the impact of which is starting to show up in the academic literature. A Librarian at the University of Illinois suggests that filter bubbles have the potential to filter search results without being aware that it is taking place; and that "this affects our ability to access, evaluate, and use information."

(Graphic courtesy of Frank Paynter, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Popping Your Bubble

There are ways around filter bubbles. The following are some tips and tricks.

  • Use your browser's "incognito" or "private browsing" mode
  • delete your search history in Google
  • delete your Cookies in your browser(s) frequently
  • in Facebook, change your privacy settings to private

For instructions, visit the University of Illinois' libguide "How to Burst Your Filter Bubble."