Do “filter bubbles” really exist?

  New Media and Society, Vol. 24, No. 8, 2022, features Paul Atkinson’s response to Axel Bruns’ 2019 book, Are Filter Bubbles Real? “Book Review.
  The concepts of “filter bubbles” and “echo chambers” have been described since the publication of Eli Pariser’s book “Filter Bubbles: What the Internet Isn’t Telling You” and Keith Sunstein’s series of books. and current theories analyzing social media society, Bruns’s book is a clear-cut skepticism of such claims. According to Bruns, terms such as “filter bubbles” and “echo chamber effects” emphasize the technical bias in political communication, which thus obscures the role of people in brewing political polarization; In other words, the Internet’s ability to expose people to a wider variety of beliefs, opinions, and social groups can counteract any attempt to narrow people’s beliefs.
  According to the book, in his farewell speech when he left office in 2017, Obama called attention to the threat of technological development to political polarization and the like, which can be seen as “filter bubbles” and “echo chambers”. Effect”. However, after the publication of Pariser and Sunstein’s work, the use of these two concepts seems to be poorly defined, more metaphorical and inferred rather than based on empirical evidence; and most studies rely on small samples , without considering the intervention of information from other channels – the information of a certain platform may be targeted, but the media environment people live in is composed of many platforms, so theoretically different or even contrary views from users can also be viewed arrived.
  A major feature of the book is the attempt to give a more dynamic definition of “filter bubbles” and “echo chamber effect”: in Bruns’ view, the so-called “echo chamber effect” is subject to confirmation bias and similarity Underpinning, the type of connection that manifests itself primarily in social media networks; whereas “filter bubbles” refer to the iterative nature of communication, in which selective exposure and personalized algorithms exclude external perspectives and validate internal opinions . On the other hand, the book rejects claims that “the media fragments people by isolating them politically” and instead discusses algorithms such as “bundling” and “fan networks” that are driven primarily by human behavior rather than automatic Select the type of marginalization driven.
  Of course, whether Bruns’s definition of “filter bubble” and “echo chamber effect” is too “hard” can also be discussed; in addition, the book believes that the popularity of these two concepts in recent years is quite So people fell into the “moral panic” inspired by “technical determinism”. Here, whether it is “technological determinism” or “moral panic”, whether the book’s discussion is sufficient and reasonable can also be discussed.
  Atkinson believes that despite this, Bruns’ book can still provide us with enlightenment in many aspects, such as: the relationship between media concepts and empirical methods; To understand people’s daily media environment, and make a more comprehensive investigation and analysis of the relationship between media, people and society.