As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.




  • relevant – closely connected or appropriate to the matter in hand
  • sweep – move swiftly and smoothly
  • queue – 1. a line or sequence of people or vehicles awaiting their turn to be attended to or to proceed 2. a list of data items, commands, etc., stored so as to be retrievable in a definite order, usually the order of insertion
  • embed –  fix (an object) firmly and deeply in a surrounding mass


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What does Mark Zuckerberg think about the relevance of facebook news feed?
  • Where did Eli Pariser grow up and what was his idea about the Internet then?
  • What did Eli notice about his Facebook news feed? How did this happen?
  • Does Google personalise search results? How does Eli show this?
  • How does the “filter bubble” work? What is it?
  • What does the Netflix example reveal about our nature?
  • In what ways are algorithms similar to editors? In what ways are the different?
  • What dangers might result form too much personalisation of the Internet?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word in each gap.

But ________ couple of weeks ago, I asked a bunch of friends ________ Google “Egypt” and to send me screen shots of ________ they got. So here’s my friend Scott’s screen shot. And here’s my friend Daniel’s screen shot. When you ________ them side-by-side, you don’t even have to read the links to see how different these two pages ________. But when you ________ read the links, it’s really quite remarkable. Daniel didn’t get anything about the protests in Egypt at ________ in his first page of Google results. Scott’s results were full of them. And this was ________ big story of ________ day at that time. That’s ________ different these results are becoming.

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