The Facebook Echo Chamber

Much has been written about the internet’s tendency to group its users into like-minded hordes. The internet makes it easy to find news sources and communities who have the same views as your own, effectively eliminating exposure to opinions you don’t agree with.

Aside from being boring, the phenomenon can’t bode well for our politics either.

On last week’s On The Media, Eli Pariser, former MoveOn.org director, pinpoints the creepy extent Facebook goes to keep users on its site.

For example, they [Facebook] know that if you’re a 30-something woman and you see that your female friends have uploaded pictures of themselves, you’re likely to upload a picture of yourself in the next month. And they know that if you do that, that your male friends are very likely to comment on that picture, and they know that if your male friends comment on that picture, they’re likely to stay on Facebook for months to come.

And so, what Facebook does, according to one person I talked to there, is they actually kind of run that in reverse. They say, oh, this guy looks like he’s kind of getting bored of Facebook. Let’s find one of his friends, show her pictures of her friends that they’ve uploaded so that she uploads a photo so that he comments on it so that he stays on Facebook more.

On the Media — “The Filter Bubble” {transcript}