Online Customization Limits Diversity

Netflix, Pandora, Facebook, and Google are some examples of websites that use algorithms to personalize their site to predict our likes and dislikes on the internet. For instance, Netflix recommends movies based on a combination of the member’s movie history, previous favorites, current picks, and specified preferred genres.

According to Eli Pariser, the author of “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You,” the personalization on the internet takes away the views and voices that challenge our own thinking and instead sorts people into categories that may limit their options. Consequently, tailored recommendations reduce the internet user’s exposure to diversity. Not only do personalization algorithms limit diversity, but many customers may not understand nor are they even aware of the filtering method.

To read more, check out the New York Times article called “The Trouble With the Echo Chamber Online” by Natasha Singer. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/technology/29stream.html

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