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The Internet Is Hiding Something from You

The Internet Is Hiding Something from You
June 1, 2017 Fany Nasution

Do you want to know a secret? The internet is hiding something from you.

For some, the internet means something that connect us (or the world) together. Yet, Eli Pariser, the author of The Filter Bubble might disagree with that.

Nowadays, “Just Google it!” has become the answer of every question we have. It has also become the common response that we get. Most people are satisfied with Google’s answer. But, is it really ‘the’ answer?

According to Eli Pariser, the internet is not an impartial tool that delivers random information to us (as we generally assume). Every time we do a Google search, as a search engine, the information it delivers to us is actually determined by its page-rank algorithm. There are fifty-seven signals Google looks at: from the type of computer you’re on, the kind of browser you use, where you’re located, to the kind of past links you’ve clicked. These are aimed to customize the results of Internet users’ queries. They call it ‘personalization’.

The Filter Bubble

The ‘personalization process’ steers you towards the contents that search engines think you want. Applications, websites, and keyword searches you regularly use has become this kind of predictive tools, which then creates what Eli Pariser called ‘The Filter Bubble’.

Based on Pariser’s book, the fact is this: Google looks into your previous queries and the clicks that follow, then refines its search results accordingly. If you clicked on gossip blogs or websites more frequently rather than news portals, links to the gossip sites may be featured more prominently in your search results.

On the other hand, this ‘personalization’ thing is also a cause for concern, because websites can gather huge amounts of information about their users, creating an infrastructure for surveillance: a privacy nightmare. It could also assist censorship, whereby the algorithms determine the types of information that can or cannot be shown.

It’s Not Just About Google

Astoundingly, it’s not just about Google. It’s sweeping the web nowadays. Different people will get different results based on their internet’s history and the bubble in which they are ‘trapped’ into.

The funny thing is that you can’t see how different your search result is from someone else, who are searching using the same keywords at the same time. The internet shows people what they want to see, but not what they need to see.

Something to remember, search engines analyze who you are from the information you find on the internet, and give you information based on your habit. Thus, be more careful when you’re surfing on the internet, because one click can lead you to a certain bubble, even the bubble of internet junk.


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