Posts Tagged ‘party politics’

The Digital Political Divide

January 2, 2012

The Digital Political Divide

“Research has confirmed that the Internet exerts a polarizing force on the electorate. In his 2011 book The Filter Bubble, Eli Pariser writes about how search engines and social networks filter out dissenting opinions and offer users only what they want to see. Google and Yahoo draw on a user’s past search preferences when responding to queries, meaning that over time a liberal and a conservative might receive ideologically opposite search results having entered identical information. (Pariser recounts how a conservative entering the letters “BP” into Google received stock tips, whereas a liberal was linked to news stories on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.)

 Similar work by Cass Sunstein, the current Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, shows how the Internet creates “echo chambers” where users surround themselves only with the like-minded. This not only preserves partisanship—it exacerbates it. Sunstein found that pro-choice liberals become more pro-choice if they interact only with other liberals, and anti-abortion conservatives become more anti-abortion after surrounding themselves with other conservatives. The niche driven nature of the Internet is pushing us further and further apart.”

“Is the Internet Polarizing Politics?” Peter James Saalfield, big think

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