The following is an excerpt from GEOFFREY A. FOWLER | WSJ.com |
With more information than ever at our fingertips, why has it become harder to fathom your neighbor’s point of view? Facebook contributes to an online echo chamber—but could also be part of a solution
Imagine if you could flip a switch on Facebook, and turn all the conservative viewpoints that you see liberal, or vice versa. You’d realize your news might look nothing like your neighbor’s.
See for yourself: Using data from Facebook, The Wall Street Journal made an online tool that lets you explore two live streams of posts you likely wouldn’t see in the same Facebook account. One draws from publications where the majority of shared links fell into the “very conservative” category during Facebook’s study, while the other pulls from sources whose links, for the most part, aligned “very liberal.” The headline “American Toddlers Have Shot 23 People” sits right across the aisle from “VA Tries to Seize Disabled Vet’s Guns.”
You can get lost for hours studying these alternate realities. What I see is a missed opportunity for technology to break down walls during this particularly divided moment. With access to more information than ever online, how could other points of view be so alien?
For more: WSJ.com