Cache Rules Everything: A Warning About Internet FiltersBy Dillon Vita-Finzi
February 27, 2015
It's no surprise that social media and search query sites such as Google and Facebook look at the links you’ve clicked, statuses you’ve favorited, and keywords you’ve used, to filter your search results and control what comes up on your news feed. This is all part of how the internet tailors information for you. And while it helps to deliver content that you are more likely to click—content related to your lifestyle, at the very moment of your search—the results are only a fraction of the information readily available. For example, if you previously spent time looking up marketing companies that do amazing advertising work in DC and then, weeks later look up fantastic law firm branding agencies on the East Coast, both results may direct you to Greenfield/Belser’s homepage. In fact, GB may be the best result on the web (shameless plug), but it shouldn’t be your only option. This example speaks to one of the main issues with tailored search results—we are given a skewed perception of the world based on what our servers believe we want to see.
Some may argue that a simple fix to this issue is emptying one’s browser history, clearing one’s cache, and/or searching in incognito mode. But Eli Pariser, author of “The Filter Bubble” warns that the web still filters your results based on 57 other elements such as your browser, your computer, your IP location and more. No matter how you try and get clean information, your search will always be run through some sort of cleansing process. Ultimately, this will lead us to what Pariser describes as a “poor information diet” that keeps us uninformed of a world outside of our own.
Take a look at Pariser's TED Talk that dives a little deeper into “The Filter Bubble,” and let us know your thoughts about a tailored internet by leaving a comment below or tweet us @gbltd.