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Mentone Girls' Grammar School | Kerferd Library

Be Informed

Helping students ensure their work is fact and evidence based

Source: Black, S. (2020). Vector graphic courtesy of Vecteezy.

Be informedWhere do you get your news, how do you stay informed, and how do you know what's fact and what's not?

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Newsweek, 25 August 1986, p. 27.

Online filter bubble | Definitions

What an online filter bubble is and what it means when you search and look for information.Level 1

Case Studies | Online filter bubbles

Level 2Online filter bubbles can have an impact without you even noticing. Look at the following two videos and consider how you find information online and what impact this has on what you are able to find. Are you getting the most accurate and up to date information, or are you getting the information your search engine or social media platform thinks you want? A search engine such as Google, or a social media platform such as Facebook, are also advertising companies. In 2017 Google generated US $110.85 billion dollars (Alphabet, 2017) and Facebook generated US $40.653 billion dollars (Facebook, 2017) from people using their platforms.

Question: Because search engines such as Google, and social media such as Facebook, earn money from you using their platforms, are you being given the information YOU want and need, or are they also giving you the information THEY think you want so you continue to use their services? 

Consider the following case studies: 

Case Study 1: How do search engines and social media sites watch what you do and filter what information you can find. Google uses information such as where you are located, what type of computer or device you are using, and what you are searching on to then decide what information you will get in your search results (Pariser, 2011).

Case Study 2: Google watches your searches and gives you more of the same. This may mean that Google will give you what it thinks you are looking for, rather than what you actually want. This echo chamber effect means you may never find the most up to date and accurate information. Following is a case study involving the American Dylann Roof. Watch the YouTube video and consider the following:

  • When searching Google and YouTube do you search and look for alternative sides to a story?
  • Do you look into the background of where the image, text, or online video has come from to see who has posted it and what is their agenda?

"How did Dylann Roof go from being someone who was not raised in a racist home to someone so steeped in white supremacist propaganda that he murdered nine African Americans during a Bible study?" (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2017)

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