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The Filter Bubble: Implications for Libraries

Presentation at MPLA/NLA/NSLA Tri-Conference, October 19, 2012

Angela Kroeger

on 10 October 2012

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Transcript of The Filter Bubble: Implications for Libraries

MPLA/NLA/NSLA Tri-Conference
October 19, 2012 Angela Kroeger Criss Library, University of Nebraska at Omaha The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser
Overt filtering vs. covert filtering
The bad side of filtering
The good side of filtering
Libraries and filtering Outline "You know that dream where you suddenly realize you're stark naked? You're living it whenever you open your browser."
–Kate Murphy. Murphy, K. (2012, May 2). How to muddy your tracks on the internet. The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/technology/personaltech/how-to-muddy-your-tracks-on-the-internet.htm Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you.
New York: Penguin. Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you.
New York: Penguin. ". . . from within the bubble, it's nearly impossible to see how biased it is."
-Eli Pariser Bilton, N. (2010). I live in the future & here's how it works: Why your world, work, and brain are being creatively disrupted.
New York: Crown Business. "I can tell you first hand that thanks to my anchoring communities [social networks], I see a drastically wider range of viewpoints online than I've ever experienced reading a print newspaper, watching the nightly news, or reading select niche magazines."
-Nick Bilton A contrasting view . . . The filter bubble ensures that you see more relevant advertisements, which is how "free" online services support themselves. Constine, J. (2012, April 23). Facebook’s amended S-1: 901 million users, 500M mobile, paid $300M cash + 23M shares for Instagram. TechCrunch. Retrieved from: http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/23/facebooks-amended-s-1-500-million-mobile-users-paid-300m-cash-23-million-shares-for-instagram/ Facebook makes $4.69-$4.81 per user annually. About the cost of this venti mocha. Google and Facebook,
and many other companies,
collect your personal data, even if you're not logged in, and sometimes even if you don't have an account. Facebook & your privacy: Who sees the data you share on the biggest social network? (2012, June). Consumer Reports. Retrieved from: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/06/facebook-your-privacy/index.htm

Rosen, D. (2012, May 20). The terrifying ways Google is destroying your privacy. AlterNet. Retrieved from: http://www.alternet.org/story/155479/the_terrifying_ways_google_is_destroying_your_privacy?page=entire FailBlog.org. (2011, October 23). Autocomplete me: You sonofa… Retrieved from: http://failblog.org/2011/10/23/epic-fail-photos-autocomplete-me-you-sonofa/ Audience participation! Get out your laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Okay, so people get different search results. Is it a problem? Pappas, S. (2012, January 22). Conservatives & liberals don't see eye-to-eye, literally. LiveScience. Retrieved from: http://www.livescience.com/18056-conservatives-liberals-biology-threats.html

Pappas, S. (2012, January 29). U.S. political divide said not so wide. DiscoveryNews. Retrieved from: http://news.discovery.com/human/republican-democrat-partisan-divide0120129.html One study says that liberals and conservatives actually have different brain wiring and are incapable of understanding each other's worldview. Another says that the U.S. political divide is about the same as it was forty years ago. The latter implies that Internet filtering did not cause the former. Overt Filtering Covert Filtering VS. Users have accounts and clicked "I agree" to terms of service. Companies operate without user knowledge or consent. Acxiom Singer, N. (2012, June 16). You for sale: Mapping, and sharing, the consumer genome. The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/technology/acxiom-the-quiet-giant-of-consumer-database-marketing.html 1,500 data points on about 500 million global consumers, including the majority of U.S. adults.

They sell for the purposes of offering targeted advertising. "Meet Becky: 37, married, 2 children, high value, lives in NY." Acxiom. (2010, June 2). Welcome to the Acxiom Corporation Investor Day. Retrieved from: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/65163921/Acxiom-Corporation-Data-Demand-Respect -From Acxiom's 2010
presentation to their investors Mitchell, J. (2012, April 26). Here are 20 companies who sell your data (& how to stop them). ReadWriteWeb. Retrieved from: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/here-are-20-companies-who-sell-your-data-how-to-stop-them.php

Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you. New York: Penguin.

Turow, J. (2011). The daily you: How the new advertising industry is defining your identity and your worth. New Haven: Yale University Press. Acxiom RapLeaf Spokeo PrivateEye Radaris Intelius BlueKai Zabasearch PeopleSmart Experian Reed Elsevier Equifax TransUnion Archives PeopleLookup US Search PeopleFinders PeekYou PublicRecordsNow USA People Search Epsilon White Pages MyLife PIPL Just a sampling of the data brokers . . . Madrigal, A. (2012, March 1). I'm being followed: how Google--and 104 other companies--track me on the web. NationalJournal. Retrieved from: http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/i-m-being-followed-how-google-and-104-other-companies-track-me-on-the-web-20120301 Alexis Madrigal identified 105 companies that tracked her during a 36-hour period of normal Internet usage. Singer, N. (2012, June 16). You for sale: Mapping, and sharing, the consumer genome. The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/technology/acxiom-the-quiet-giant-of-consumer-database-marketing.html Targets Waste VS. "Over time, that can really turn into a mountain of pathways not offered, not seen and not known about."
-Pam Dixon, World Privacy Forum When marketing algorithms classify a person as "waste" . . . Turow, J. (2012, February 7). A guide to the digital advertising industry that's watching your every click The Atlantic. Retrieved from: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/a-guide-to-the-digital-advertising-industry-thats-watching-your-every-click/252667/ Image used with permission. Photo by A. Kroeger. Image used with permission. Why do we stand for it? Convenience. Filtering
is the antidote to information overload. Personalization = system-controlled Customization = user-controlled Power-users prefer customization. However, with the assurance of a high level of privacy, these preferences flip. Sundar, S. S., & Marathe, S. S. (2010). Personalization versus customization: The importance of agency, privacy, and power usage. Human Communication Research, 38, 298-322. Non-power-users prefer personalization. Don't expect a massive public uprising against filtering and personalization. "In the United States, 275,232 books were published in 2008, a thirty-fold increase in volume from 1900. But it's highly unlikely that your local library got hundreds of times bigger during those past 110 years to accommodate that growth curve. Instead, your library adopted the only realistic tactic, each year ignoring a higher and higher percentage of available volumes."
-David Weinberger Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren't the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York: Basic Books. Libraries as Filters Burkell, J., & Carey, R. (2011). Personal information and the public library: Compliance with fair information practice principles/Les renseignements personnels dans les bibliothèques publiques: Le respect des principes d'équité dans les pratiques de collecte de renseignements. The Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science/La Revue canadienne des sciences de l’information et de bibliothéconomie, 35(1), 1-15. Libraries may collect and use patron data for Patron records Circulation histories Interlibrary loan requests Online reference services Electronic resource usage records Book recommendations Public computer logons And much more American Library Association, Office for Intellectual Freedom. (2012). Privacy tool kit: Guidelines for developing a library privacy policy. Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/iftoolkits/toolkitsprivacy/guidelinesfordevelopingalibraryprivacypolicy/guidelinesprivacypolicy "The right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized by others. Confidentiality relates to the possession of personally identifiable information."
-American Library Association
Intellectual Freedom Committee American Library Association. (2004). The freedom to read statement. Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/statementspols/ftrstatement/freedomreadstatement "It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority."
-The American Library Association Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you.New York: Penguin. ". . . to feel curiosity, we have to be conscious that something's being hidden. Because the filter bubble hides things invisibly, we're not as compelled to learn about what we don't know."
-Eli Pariser The Filter Bubble:
Implications for Libraries Think about yourself. When collecting materials for your library, be aware of your own filter bubble. Think about your patrons. Patrons accustomed to strongly personalized search results on the services they use most may perceive library search results as having an undesirable signal-to-noise ratio. Some patrons may be so thoroughly filtered that they have no idea what they're missing. On one hand . . . We may need to help them understand how to search effectively for topics outside their filters. And why it's important to do so. It isn't always necessary to circumvent someone's filter bubble to meet their needs. On the other hand . . . Keating, J. J., & Hafner, A. W. (2002, November). Supporting individual library patrons with information technologies: Emerging one-to-one library services on the collect or university campus. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 28(6), 426-429. "Knowledge based programs can automatically learn the patron's interests. By tracking usage by major or professional discipline, the database can be analyzed to provide real-time feedback to patrons of what services have been recently used by their peer group . . ."
-John J. Keating, III, & Arthur W. Hafner Imagine if libraries offered a high level of personalization . . . Two patrons search for "stars." The physicist gets astronomy resources. The movie buff gets resources about celebrities. Make it obvious if filtering is in effect. Caveats Make it easy to turn off or on. An alternative to Google Search DuckDuckGo http://duckduckgo.com/ DuckDuckGo. (2012.). Escape your search engine's filter bubble! An illustrated guide by DuckDuckGo. Retrieved from: http://dontbubble.us/ A tool for evaluating websites' privacy policies and terms of service Terms of Service; Didn't Read http://tos-dr.info/ Unhosted. (2012). Terms of Service; Didn't Read. Retrieved from: http://tos-dr.info/index.html Think about your library's privacy policy Don't expect our patrons to simply know that we don't buy or sell their personal data. Grant, C. (2012, June 28). Why and how librarians have to shape the new cloud computing platforms. [Web log post.] Retrieved from: http://thoughts.care-affiliates.com/2012/06/why-and-how-librarians-have-to-shape.html "We need to provide contextual support, the ability for library members to, when they’re working with existing knowledge, easily understand the environment in which it was created, the funding sources behind it, and to be able to say, through our technology: 'Show me an opposing point of view, or show me other critical commentary on this view' We don’t want to place our user’s [sic] in a 'filter bubble', we want to place them in a 'learning bubble' a place above biases, above unspecified and un-modifiable filtering."
-Carl Grant Libraries can teach
critical thinking skills as a part
of information literacy instruction. Weiner, J. (2011). Is there a difference between critical thinking and information literacy? A systematic review 2000-2009. Journal of Information Literacy, 5(2), 81-92. Turow, J. (2011). The daily you: How the new advertising
industry is defining your identity and your worth.
New Haven: Yale University Press. Yikes! News sites can alter the headline and lead paragraph to better attract an individual's attention based on their preferences. Think about that for a moment, in the context of a student citing a source for a research paper. Turow, J. (2011). The daily you: How the new advertising
industry is defining your identity and your worth.
New Haven: Yale University Press. Double yikes! It is technically possible to alter characters and plots to suit readers, viewers, and players. Imagine a book club discussion where each reader has a slightly different version of the text. This is not widespread because the expense and processing power required. Libraries can provide more reliable access than Google. Weinheimer, J. (2012, June 12). Reality check: What is it that the public wants today? [Web log post.] Retrieved from: http://blog.jweinheimer.net/2012/06/reality-check-what-is-it-that-public.html "Reliable selection that guarantees you will see all kinds of opinions; reliable cataloging so that you can find something the same way you found it yesterday; reliable access so that if a site you found disappears or changes, you can still access the information."
-James Weinheimer As always, libraries must continue to develop collections of the greatest depth and breadth possible, so we can offer something of value to all patrons, regardless of how narrowly focused their individual filters may be. Conclusion Filtering is here to stay. Recognize when to pop your bubble to meet your patrons in theirs. The main takeaways . . . Be aware of your own filter bubble. Understand how filter bubbles work. Questions or comments? Contact me:
Angela Kroeger
akroeger@unomaha.edu (Emphasis added.) But neither group likes unpersonalized, uncustomized websites. In other words . . . (Emphasis added.) (Emphasis added.) (Emphasis added.) (Emphasis added.) (Emphasis added.) (Emphasis added.) (Emphasis added.) Pariser noticed conservative friends disappearing from his Facebook feed. Patrons you help remotely might not see the same things on their screens that you see on yours. CNBC Video. (2009, December 29). Google's privacy [video file]. Retrieved from: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=1372176413 "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
-Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google
(now Executive Chairman) When you see more of what you like & less of what you don't it isolates you like you're in a bubble
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