The Filter Bubble
An eye-opening account of how the hidden rise of personalization on the Internet is controlling-and limiting-the information we consume. In December 2009, Google began customizing its search results for each user. Instead of giving you the most broadly popular result, Google now tries to predict what you are most likely to click on. According to MoveOn.org board president Eli Pariser, Google's change in policy is symptomatic of the most significant shift to take place on the Web in recent years-the rise of personalization. In this groundbreaking investigation of the new hidden Web, Pariser uncovers how this growing trend threatens to control how we consume and share information as a society-and reveals what we can do about it. Though the phenomenon has gone largely undetected until now, personalized filters are sweeping the Web, creating individual universes of information for each of us. Facebook-the primary news source for an increasing number of Americans-prioritizes the links it believes will appeal to you so that if you are a liberal, you can expect to see only progressive links. Even an old-media bastion like The Washington Post devotes the top of its home page to a news feed with the links your Facebook friends are sharing. Behind the scenes a burgeoning industry of data companies is tracking your personal information to sell to advertisers, from your political leanings to the color you painted your living room to the hiking boots you just browsed on Zappos. In a personalized world, we will increasingly be typed and fed only news that is pleasant, familiar, and confirms our beliefs-and because these filters are invisible, we won't know what is being hidden from us. Our past interests will determine what we are exposed to in the future, leaving less room for the unexpected encounters that spark creativity, innovation, and the democratic exchange of ideas. While we all worry that the Internet is eroding privacy or shrinking our attention spans, Pariser uncovers a more pernicious and far- reaching trend on the Internet and shows how we can- and must-change course. With vivid detail and remarkable scope, The Filter Bubble reveals how personalization undermines the Internet's original purpose as an open platform for the spread of ideas and could leave us all in an isolated, echoing world.
The Filter Bubble
Imagine a world where all the news you see is defined by your salary, where you live, and who your friends are. Imagine a world where you never discover new ideas. And where you can't have secrets. Welcome to 2011. Google and Facebook are already feeding you what they think you want to see. Advertisers are following your every click. Your computer monitor is becoming a one-way mirror, reflecting your interests and reinforcing your prejudices. The internet is no longer a free, independent space. It is commercially controlled and ever more personalised. The Filter Bubble reveals how this hidden web is starting to control our lives - and shows what we can do about it.
The Filter Bubble
Imagine a world where all the news you see is defined by your salary, where you live, and who your friends are. Imagine a world where you never discover new ideas. And where you can't have secrets.Welcome to 2011.Google and Facebook are already feeding you what they think you want to see. Advertisers are following your every click. Your computer monitor is becoming a one-way mirror, reflecting your interests and reinforcing your prejudices.The internet is no longer a free, independent space. It is commercially controlled and ever more personalised. The Filter Bubble reveals how this hidden web is starting to control our lives - and shows what we can do about it.
The Case for Latvia
What do we know about Latvia and the Latvians? A Baltic (not Balkan) nation that emerged from fifty years under the Soviet Union – interrupted by a brief but brutal Nazi-German occupation and a devastating war – now a member of the European Union and NATO. Yes, but what else? Relentless accusations keep appearing, especially in Russian media, often repeated in the West: “Latvian soldiers single-handedly saved Lenin's revolution in 1917”, “Latvians killed Tsar Nikolai II and the Royal family”, “Latvia was a thoroughly anti-Semitic country and Latvians started killing Jews even before the Germans arrived in 1941”, “Nazi revival is rampant in today's Latvia”, “The Russian minority is persecuted in Latvia. . .”True, false or in-between? The Finnish journalist and author Jukka Rislakki examines charges like these and provides an outline of Latvia's recent history while attempting to separate documented historical fact from misinformation and deliberate disinformation. His analysis helps to explain why the Baltic States (population 7 million) consistently top the enemy lists in public opinion polls of Russia (143 million). His knowledge of the Baltic languages allows him to make use of local sources and up-to-date historical research. He is a former Baltic States correspondent for Finland's largest daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and the author of several books on Finnish and Latvian history. As a neutral, experienced and often critical observer, Rislakki is uniquely qualified for the task of separating truth from fiction.
Republic com 2 0
What happens to democracy and free speech if people use the Internet to listen and speak only to the like-minded? What is the benefit of the Internet's unlimited choices if citizens narrowly filter the information they receive? Cass Sunstein first asked these questions in 2001's Republic.com. Now, in Republic.com 2.0, Sunstein thoroughly rethinks the critical relationship between democracy and the Internet in a world where partisan Weblogs have emerged as a significant political force. Republic.com 2.0 highlights new research on how people are using the Internet, especially the blogosphere. Sunstein warns against "information cocoons" and "echo chambers," wherein people avoid the news and opinions that they don't want to hear. He also demonstrates the need to regulate the innumerable choices made possible by technology. His proposed remedies and reforms emphasize what consumers and producers can do to help avoid the perils, and realize the promise, of the Internet.
A technology expert describes a possible future, and its repercussions in the area of privacy, social control and political manipulation, of a world where more and more things, like eyeglasses, thermostats and home security systems are reliant on the Internet.
Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy
"In this passionate and strikingly lucid essay, Robert McChesney makes clear why all of us should be alarmed about the effects of media mergers on the future of American democracy. This is a must reading for anyone who wants to get a quick understanding of this troubling trend."—Susan J. Douglas, author of Growing Up Female with the Mass Media
The Cult of the Amateur
Amateur hour has arrived, and the audience is running the show In a hard-hitting and provocative polemic, Silicon Valley insider and pundit Andrew Keen exposes the grave consequences of today’s new participatory Web 2.0 and reveals how it threatens our values, economy, and ultimately the very innovation and creativity that forms the fabric of American achievement. Our most valued cultural institutions, Keen warns—our professional newspapers, magazines, music, and movies—are being overtaken by an avalanche of amateur, user-generated free content. Advertising revenue is being siphoned off by free classified ads on sites like Craigslist; television networks are under attack from free user-generated programming on YouTube and the like; file-sharing and digital piracy have devastated the multibillion-dollar music business and threaten to undermine our movie industry. Worse, Keen claims, our “cut-and-paste” online culture—in which intellectual property is freely swapped, downloaded, remashed, and aggregated—threatens over 200 years of copyright protection and intellectual property rights, robbing artists, authors, journalists, musicians, editors, and producers of the fruits of their creative labors. In today’s self-broadcasting culture, where amateurism is celebrated and anyone with an opinion, however ill-informed, can publish a blog, post a video on YouTube, or change an entry on Wikipedia, the distinction between trained expert and uninformed amateur becomes dangerously blurred. When anonymous bloggers and videographers, unconstrained by professional standards or editorial filters, can alter the public debate and manipulate public opinion, truth becomes a commodity to be bought, sold, packaged, and reinvented. The very anonymity that the Web 2.0 offers calls into question the reliability of the information we receive and creates an environment in which sexual predators and identity thieves can roam free. While no Luddite—Keen pioneered several Internet startups himself—he urges us to consider the consequences of blindly supporting a culture that endorses plagiarism and piracy and that fundamentally weakens traditional media and creative institutions. Offering concrete solutions on how we can reign in the free-wheeling, narcissistic atmosphere that pervades the Web, THE CULT OF THE AMATEUR is a wake-up call to each and every one of us.
The True Patriot
Over the course of a generation, patriotism in America has been hijacked by the right and abandoned by the left. But the principles and values of true patriotism – country above self, contribution above consumption, stewardship over exploitation, freedom with responsibility, purpose through sacrifice and service, pragmatism, a fair shot for all – are inherently progressive. The True Patriot, written in the pamphleteering style of Thomas Paine (Common Sense), challenges progressives to reclaim patriotism – and spells out just how to do it. This powerful and timely "little red book" combines a manifesto, a ten-principle plan, a model speech, and a moral code. Throughout, it weaves between the words of the authors and excerpts from foundational American texts and speeches, as well as a parade of iconic American images.
The End of Absence
Soon enough, nobody will remember life before the Internet. What does this unavoidable fact mean? Those of us who have lived both with and without the crowded connectivity of online life have a rare opportunity. We can still recognize the difference between Before and After. We catch ourselves idly reaching for our phones at the bus stop. Or we notice how, midconversation, a fumbling friend dives into the perfect recall of Google. In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Michael Harris argues that amid all the changes we're experiencing, the most interesting is the end of absence-the loss of lack. The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished. There's no true "free time" when you carry a smartphone. Today's rarest commodity is the chance to be alone with your thoughts. Michael Harris is an award-winning journalist and a contributing editor at Western Living and Vancouvermagazines. He lives in Toronto, Canada.