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The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  2,110 ratings  ·  319 reviews
In December 2009, Google began customizing its search results for all users, and we entered a new era of personalization. With little notice or fanfare, our online experience is changing, as the websites we visit are increasingly tailoring themselves to us. In this engaging and visionary book, board president Eli Pariser lays bare the personalization that is alr ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published 2011)
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Well, if you want to be terrified about how the web is scooping information about us, stereotyping us, pigeonholing us, basically doing the opposite of what we thought the web was GOING to do for society, then read this book. At the very least, it helps become informed about exactly what we do when we surf the web. Nothing is safe online. Everything you do online is defining you in ways you never thought you'd be defined. Everything you do is hackable. The future is even worse in those respects. ...more
Dan Russell
Apr 09, 2012 Dan Russell rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: internet users, Googlers
I read this book because it’s very well-known, because he gave a famous talk about this at a recent TED conference, and because I work and do research on how people think about the information they get from the internet. In the end, Pariser and I both think about these things a great deal—he worries deeply and writes a book that has essentially one complaint in it. His complaint? Internet companies provide personalization services that distort/affect/limit what you can see and it’s hard to know ...more
The Filter Bubble presents a simple, but rather compelling argument: the focused efforts of companies like Google and Facebook to deliver highly personalised content on the web, initiates a self-referential feedback loop that exposes us to an ever-increasing one-dimensional view of the world. However, the most fascinating aspect of this book, is not the core argument, but rather the insightful commentary that follows from a detailed analysis of the consequences of this viewpoint. Just one small, ...more
The big message in this book is that "curators'" of information on the Internet, like Google and Facebook, use of personalization has significant negative consequences. If I search for something on Google, I am going to get results tailored to where I am and who Google "thinks" I am. Pariser argues that we are less and less confronted with ideas we don't agree with or new and surprising ideas.

The biggest issue is not even that the personalization is happening , but that it is completely opaque a
Eli Pariser argues in The Filter Bubble that "rise of pervasive , embedded filtering is changing the way we experience the internet and ultimately the world." Now that companies can aggregate our web behaviors, likes, and purchases, online profiles of web users can be built that can be profitably sold to interested parties. This book therefore covers two issues: total personalization of delivered web data, and nature of these created web personas.

Regarding the first issue, I'm not as concerned
It's ironic how I became aware of this book and read it, given the topic of filtering and personalization. I found this book serendipitously. I was in the public library waiting for a workstation to open up. I was standing at the beginning of the non-fiction book section. This book has Dewey decimal number 004.678, right at eye-level where I happened to be standing, idly waiting. "Oh," I thought, "This looks interesting." I flipped though it and decided to check it out and read it. Just what the ...more
NOTE: A month after writing my original review I changed my rating from 4 to 5 because of how it has stayed with me and the number of interesting conversations I have had about it.
In the introduction to The Filter Bubble, Eli Pariser delivers a very thought-provoking message: the internet is getting better and better at knowing what we want and personalizing what we see, and that is not necessarily a good thing. We all want searches and websites to show us what we are after, but the more our com
Very interesting book. Here are the notes I wrote in the margins while reading it on the Kindle.

Page 15
Note: This is why I love going to libraries. The chance encounter of a new topic you never thought of exploring. (256)
Page 17
Note: I need to go to town hall meetings (279)
Page 20
Notes on this intro: I don't mind companies targeting me as I live my life much with a transparent attitude. However the author makes very good point that we eac
Kate Woods Walker
Although much-discussed in the past year and oft-quoted amongst the websites, blogs and message boards I frequent, The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser, for me, was a rather plodding look at internet "personalization" trends. I found myself putting the book aside and forgetting to take it up again, perhaps due to the immediacy of the internet itself, which made much of what Pariser presented already old news to his intended audience.

But it was a good, solid book about an important subject, so perha
Admittedly, upon initial reading, began by sharpening the cutlery and prepared to launch into critical invective about this book. But it was not a terrible read at all, and the Mr. Pariser struck salience at a number of points.

I just reject the overt thesis that personalized filtering is the great 21st century media Satan. Yes, lack of serendipity is of some concern, but not the petrifying bogeyman that seems to warrant most of the book's main topic is way overblown, in an age where a discernin
Margaret Sankey
Pariser dissects the dark side of the algorithms that allow search engines to guess what we want--the results aren't just tailored to what we want, but to what advertisers and perhaps more nefarious editors want us to see, not to mention the extremely easy habit of only reading what we agree with or what back-fills our own confirmation biases. While I am not sure that there is a technological or regulatory solution for even the privacy aspects of this, it speaks to a drum I am constantly poundin ...more
Jun 05, 2011 Betsy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Betsy by: Courtenay Chadwell-Gatz
A very important book for anyone who uses the internet. The big providers -- Facebook and Google especially -- filter the content they present to you, without telling you and without your permission. Even if you think you've elected to receive everything. They do it in the name of personalization, but it's largely to services advertisers, and it affects your online experience in insidious ways.

This book is short, well-written, and easy to understand. Although written by a well-known liberal act
Cassie Ann
Eli Pariser is a progressive internet and political activist. He is the founder, as well as chief executive of the website Upworthy, which delivers viral content on purposeful issues. He is also board president of which has raised millions of dollars for candidates it considers liberal. He is also the co-founder of Avaaz, which is a political activism network of over 30 million people.

Eli Pariser's “The Filter Bubble” is a detailed account of each online user's individually tailored
Samuel Cassidy
This is a fascinating book, and I would recommend it to anyone who uses the Internet regularly. Its central thesis is that the web has been becoming more personalized to the user over time, and that this creeping personalization has the potential to cut us off from the wider world of information that the Internet promised to deliver in its early days. The early chapters were absolutely gripping to someone like me who doesn't know a lot about "big data"---these chapters illuminate just how much d ...more
Huda AbuKhoti
Everyone should read this.

Delete your web cookies and web history often.
Very interesting, somewhat scary book about the idea of the "filter bubble." What we see on the internet is based on what we click on- notice how you look at shoes on Zappos- and then when you go on Facebook, the same shoes show up? Using these filters, the internet shows you what you think you should see. What is happening is that you are now seeing only things that are familiar to you- and what "they" think you will be interested in. That leaves 95% of stories,material, and ideas being filtere ...more
I learned some very interesting facts especially regarding "personalization" by Google, but I have to admit that I felt somewhat disconnected from the issues raised in the book simply because I am not on social networks. The core of the problem raised in this book is how your data are used. Obviously we all buy on the web, so these kind of data are hard to keep entirely private but data you give on social networks are a liability. You don't have hundreds of friends in the real world, you don't f ...more
Joseph McBee
I read last year, someplace on the internet, that when a website offers a free service the product being sold is us.

This book explores the current internet culture where a few mega companies offer wonderful services, companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter, and use their services to gather massive amounts of data on its users i.e. you and I. The companies then use that data to determine what we like and don't like and then they show us only the things we like, excluding everything
Derek Bridge
Personalization technology on the Web observes our actions, infers our tastes, and promotes items it thinks will satisfy those tastes. It is no exaggeration to say that this technology drives the modern Web.

Pariser raises the legitimate concern that this gives rise to a negative feedback loop: the technology shows us only what it thinks we will like, we only consume items from those that it shows us, and the technology treats this as confirmation that it is correct, and so the process repeats.
David Dinaburg
The appeal of The Filter Bubble isn’t in the oft-disheartening revelations about internet companies tracking data; that’s established and not surprising to most people. “When you read your Kindle, the data about which phrases you highlight, which pages you turn, and whether you read straight through or skip around are all fed back to Amazon’s servers and can be used to indicate what books you might like next.” What is revealing is how that targeted personalization is beginning to edge out what m ...more
Eli Pariser has two or maybe three books here. One is a call to pay attention to what is happening in the internet community that people are spending more and more time in. He points out the personalization and filtering algorithmic management of what you see on the internet is a sort of soft brain wash. Maybe it is only a brain spritz, not a full wash yet, but he does explain lots of the behavior that is leading the social media to be sort of a dilusional mind walk. The second book he has is an ...more
Dec 27, 2011 Nancy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who uses the internet
Yikes! I knew the internet captured information about us to try to sell stuff. You can't miss it. I looked at vacuum cleaner reviews a few weeks ago before buying a vacuum at a bricks and mortar store. The internet is still busy showing me vacuum ads on multiple websites.

However I did not know that my news is filtered too. Many sites select the news you see to fit the profile they have of you. If I don't seek it out, I won't see opinions different from my own and I won't be presented news on to
Jun 17, 2011 Jodi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who uses the internet
What if everything you read on the internet was tailored to provide exactly what your interests are? That is the central thesis of this thought provoking and excellent book .
Facebook gets all the bad press, but all the major internet players, such as Google, Amazon, etc. sell our personal data to private companies who in turn sell to advertisers. We are moving inexorably to complete personalization of our internet experience, which may sound appealing until you realize the ensuing disinformation
Some great ideas and sentences, but this would have been better, I think, as a really thoughtful article in The Atlantic -- not a full book.

Kindle quotes:

A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa. —Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder - location 77

Starting that morning, Google would use fifty-seven signals—everything from where you were logging in from to what browser you were using to what you had searched for before—to mak
"The new Internet doesn't just know you're a dog; it knows your breed and wants to sell you a bowl of premium kibble." (6)

"In the filter bubble, there's less room for the chance encounters that bring insight and learning. Creativity is often sparked by the collision of ideas from different disciplines and cultures...By definition, a world constructed from the familiar is a world in which there's nothing to learn." (15)

"The rise of networking did not eliminate intermediaries but rather changed wh
Eli Pariser's The Filter Bubble is a pretty awesome book. It's quite similar to Siva Vaidhyanathan's The Googlization of Everything, published only two months earlier (which it nevertheless manages to cite), except that The Filter Bubble covers the Internet's big players in general -- Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter -- whereas The Googlization of Everything was limited to Google as a company. Pariser's metaphor of living in a "filter bubble" is similar to Vaidhyanathan's idea of humans being " ...more
Zac Scy
Some great insights into how our online information is stored and used.

Also, kind of scary to think about how a technology meant to broaden our horizons could end up limiting our experiences as well as our cultural and informational exchanges.

I'm glad to see that Eli Pariser wasn't just complaining about the stuff but that he went out and did something constructive about it.

What did he do?

Well, he helped create

It's really worth a read or even two if you dare!
Yup, the internet has turned into a free-for-all with millions of bucks to be made at the expense of individual privacy but under the guise of the user getting something for nothing. This book examines specifically the internet giants manipulation of our web use to their marketing advantage. As well as influencing our mental development, diversity and independence by presuming they know what we think and want better than we do ourselves. All these are salient points but the big-scare of the book ...more
2011 is aeons ago in internet time. That's when this book was written. If you don't know or believe how much data is collected on you or don't understand what that means to your ability to make good decisions, perhaps you should read this book. Meanwhile, I'll just concentrate on not throwing myself off a bridge.
I talked incessantly about this book while I was reading it and even for months after. As a librarian, it is quite concerning that the search engine results I see are different from the search engine results my patron is seeing. Who's making those decisions for us, and how is it they think they know better than us?

The original excitement about the Internet of people coming together and sharing ideas across continents is being thwarted and twisted by the "personalization" that's becoming the real
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“Personalization is based on a bargain. In exchange for the service of filtering, you hand large companies an enormous amount of data about your daily life--much of whic you might not trust your friends with.” 4 likes
“1973 Fair Information Practices:

- You should know who has your personal data, what data they have, and how it is used.
- You should be able to prevent information collected about you for one purpose from being used for others.
- You should be able to correct inaccurate information about you.
- Your data should be secure.

..while it's illegal to use Brad Pitt's image to sell a watch without his permission, Facebook is free to use your name to sell one to your friends.”
More quotes…