If you don’t know these words you are a technology laggard!
But don’t worry, because this quick guide will shed light on your doubts.
We often hear these words but we are not quite sure about their meaning and how they have anything to do with us.
The answer is: A LOT.
These words all concern the way we acquire information on social media. In particular how articles/stories and posts are arranged in whatever feed you consult daily (facebook’s feed as well as YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, etc).
As you might already know, every single person has different feeds. Indeed algorithms that analyze Big Data are more and more prone to rightly guess what you like and what you expect when using your favorite platform.
Since everybody has different tastes these algorithms provide us with customized information… which leads us to Filter Bubbles, Confirmation Bias, and Feedback loops.
When you look something up on the internet you live behind you traces (cookies) that contain valuable information about you. The same happens when you start following a certain page or open a certain post.
The algorithms understand what is that you are interested in and therefore give you more content of that kind. By obtaining more related contents you are “shielded” from other contents…this is a filter bubble. Information has been filtered for you, leaving you in a feedback loop where you might end up reinforcing your beliefs about anything (confirmation bias).
If you start to look all the time about contents relating to flat earth, you will likely receive more information and news about it (in your feed as well as in your ads, sponsoring books about it, or videos about it). You will eventually confirm your view (ignorance?) instead of acquiring contradictory info.
So confirmation bias is that situation in which contents are driven to you in a way that does not enlarge your view but only strengthens your already existing one.
A feedback loop is the redundancy of similar elements that are shown according to your past researches.
Filter bubble is the shield that prevents you from getting in contact with different contents, we can imagine this as the result of the previously described situation combined.
Now that we have a clearer definition of those concepts why could ask ourselves how and why is that so? Our algorithmic models designed to make us dumber and less inclined to contradictory points of view?
Well…no, it is a matter of perspective.
Without complicating things too much it is worth bearing in our minds that algorithms are created to simplify our lives and to maximize the profits of those who use them.
Overwhelming users with related content keeps them satisfied, because it is just what they were looking for, plus it makes it easier for companies to target their marketing campaigns.
If you are flooded by similar contents too and are trapped by confirmation bias, filter bubbles, and feedback loop the first thing to realize it. Be aware of the fact that in some ways your reality has been distorted.
Try to challenge what you have started to believe (especially if it is a “newborn” belief) and take time to look up for different points of view. Remember, truth is a slow process.
If you bother to do so you might realize how different things are…you might surprise yourself!