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BIG BROTHER? How to pop the “internet personalization” bubble.

by brenda.rosenhamer on May 10th, 2011

How to pop the big brother “internet personalization” bubble.

If you don’t want your Internet filtered by some invisible stereotype, here’s how to pop the bubble. These tips are a combination of my own, plus some offered in The Filter Bubble.

  • Deliberately click on links that make it hard for the personalization engines to pigeonhole you. Make yourself difficult to stereotype.
  • Erase your browser history and cookies from time to time.
  • Use an “incognito” window for exploring content you don’t want too much of later.
  • Use Twitter instead of Facebook for news. (Twitter doesn’t personalize.)
  • Unblock the Status Updates of your friends that Facebook has already blocked. Click the “Edit Options” link at the bottom of your Facebook News Feed. The dialog box will show you who is being blocked. You can hide or un-hide each friend manually, or unblock everybody. This dialog box affects only what comes from friends to you. It does not affect what your friends see of your posts.
  • Every week or so, post something and then ask the Facebook friends you really care about to go “Like,” comment and click. This activity should prevent Facebook from censoring your comments later for these people.

The most important thing about the “filter bubble” is that you know it exists. The Internet you see is not the Internet I see. The Internet you see has recently been redesigned to flatter, pander and validate — not challenge, enlighten and educate.

The filter bubble is real. But it can be popped.

Mike Elgan writes about technology and tech culture. Contact and learn more about Mike at, or subscribe to his free e-mail newsletter, Mike’s List.

Posted under → Quantitative News

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