Eli Paiser’s The Filter Bubble outlines the complex algorithms and systems with determine the content users see on the internet. From Google’s PageRank which decides if you’ll see Seal the singer or a seal cub, to Facebook’s Edgerank which number of Farmville requests you’ll receive, these systems have a powerful impact on the information you’re exposed to on a daily basis. These programs surround us and play a major role in our decision making. For instance: If you’re in the market for a new cake recipe, Amazon can provide you with a list of cookbooks similar to ones you purchased in the past. This is a valuable service, providing users with information quickly, and narrowing down their options in a quick way that browsing through a local bookstore never could, but it also gives for-profit websites license to use their position as middlemen between shoppers and sellers to shape the purchases of their users. Websites like Amazon boost certain sponsored rankings. While these items still reflect possible interests of customers, they aren’t necessarily the most relevant results. in order to increase sales, the company has altered it’s own effective algorithm to boost profits. This set up violates many of the principles which early internet pioneers believed in. The commitment to open access to information and betterment of society has been replaced with dedication to profits and market share. Does this represent a mutually beneficial system for both companies and costumers and users or are these websites taking advantage of users’ dependence on their services?
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