The Filter Bubble Explained: Why You Didn’t Expect Trump’s Victory

Just because your social media is infested with Trump haters doesn’t mean someone else’s feed is. You might be wondering how and why Trump won when all your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds were against him this whole time.

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When Google is able to complete our questions for us, when Twitter is somehow able to suggest the ‘people you may know’, and when the advertisements on the margins of your Facebook news feed are related to your most recent Amazon purchase, it is time we evaluate how our social media is actually becoming very specific to our preferences and daily activity.

This is what a filter bubble looks like: when your feed becomes a personalised one.

Just a few months ago, Facebook replaced its human editors with algorithms.  These algorithms are meant to tailor our news feeds to grant us an entertaining relevant feed that caters to our interests and enhances our overall online experience.

All your retweets, Facebook reactions and people you follow and interact with are the key components to shaping the filter bubble.  It filters any irrelevant content and encapsulates you inside this personalised bubble instead.

Having such a personalised feed could lead to many conflictions.  And the most recent examples are Brexit, and Trump’s victory.

When your feed is infested with Trump hatred  from anti-Trump hashtags, articles, memes and parodies, you start building the image that the whole world is against him, just because your social media told you they are.

Social media has become a huge part of politics, and people are starting to slowly rely on it for information and news. That way, the filter bubble can manipulate our perception of things by creating, what I like to call, ‘personalised bias or propaganda’.

This is the reason we underestimated the army of support Trump had, and kept us from seeing it coming.

There are even Facebook and Twitter pages in support of Trump — who are not your typical white male republicans — who have thousands of followers and supporting hashtags such as Muslims, Sikhs, Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos and Hindus for Trump.  Take a moment to let this idea sink in — that the chances those groups would ever appear in your news feed or even be suggested for you to join were probably close to zero.  In fact, chances are that most Trump voters don’t even have a social media account!

We tend to rely so much on social media that we are now allowing it to shape our perception.

So the next time you browse your feed and notice endless strong opinions springing across your social media, let Trump’s victory be a lesson to you, and be aware of the fact that there is a whole other side that you are not exposed to because of this filter bubble.

 Read more about Dana Damanhouri, here

 

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