Why it’s hard to escape an echo chamber

I have previously written these articles about the filter bubble; Beware the online filter bubbles and ELI PARISER PREDICTED THE FUTURE. NOW HE CAN’T ESCAPE IT. 

These days we here a lot about the Echo Chamber, and it is easy to think that those two concepts are the same. The differences between the two are described in this article: What is the Difference Between an Echo Chamber and a Filter Bubble?

However, these two phrases do not mean the same thing. More and more specialists and researchers are using the phrase ‘filter bubble’ to describe only online mechanisms of information polarisation, like the algorithms you find on social media and search engines. In contrast, ‘echo chamber’ refers to both online and offline mechanisms, like algorithms plus pub culture, that act simultaneously. Echo chambers have therefore existed since the birth of humanity and communities. Filter bubbles have not.

You could say that the filter bubble’ theory has been defined by Eli Pariser in his book ‘The Filter Bubble’. Although many attribute Sunstein as the first adopter of the term ‘echo chamber’ in his book ‘Republic 2.0

The search for the meaning of the Echo chamber brought my attention to this article by C Thi Nguyen an assistant professor of philosophy at Utah Valley University; Why it’s as hard to escape an echo chamber as it is to flee a cult. In the article, he recommends the book Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment (2010), where Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Frank Cappella offer a groundbreaking analysis of the phenomenon

Something has gone wrong with the flow of information. It’s not just that different people are drawing subtly different conclusions from the same evidence. It seems like different intellectual communities no longer share basic foundational beliefs. Maybe nobody cares about the truth anymore, as some have started to worry. Maybe political allegiance has replaced basic reasoning skills. Maybe we’ve all become trapped in echo chambers of our own making – wrapping ourselves in an intellectually impenetrable layer of likeminded friends and web pages and social media feeds.

But there are two very different phenomena at play here, each of which subvert the flow of information in very distinct ways. Let’s call them echo chambers and epistemic bubbles. Both are social structures that systematically exclude sources of information. Both exaggerate their members’ confidence in their beliefs. But they work in entirely different ways, and they require very different modes of intervention. An epistemic bubble is when you don’t hear people from the other side. An echo chamber is what happens when you don’t trustpeople from the other side.

Read the whole article here

Related articles:

BBC: the-myth-of-the-online-echo-chamber

The Guardian: Echo chambers are dangerous –  we must try to break free of our online bubbles


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