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Should Google and Facebook Filter Our Content?

I have three questions:

Is personalization of the Web a step backwards?

Is information becoming less accessible to us because of filtering?

Or perhaps more importantly, is this a loophole that business, government and cheaters can exploit?

Read this excerpt I came across today:

The topic was brought up most recently by alternative search engine DuckDuckGo, which calls out the major search engines for being too heavy on the content filtering. DuckDuckGo has set up a site at DontBubble.us, which provides something of a graphical slideshow to illustrate its point. If you strip out all of the graphics and sub-text, it reads:

When you search the Internet, search engines now show different results to different people. Results are tailored to who you are, based on your search history and your click history. Since you often click on things you agree with, you keep getting more and more of what you already agree with, which means other stuff gets demoted (effectively filtered). This begs the question: what are you missing?

In other words, you are living in a Filter Bubble that promotes things it thinks you’ll like, and demotes (effectively filters) out some of the rest, which may limit your exposure to opposing information. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to pop your filter bubble, because the technology is used so much across the Internet. Source

So the question is do you want your search and news results filtered by Google according to your tastes, OR do YOU want total control over the information that’s served to you?

I don’t know about you but I want my information unfiltered, even if it is supposedly according to my preferences because I prefer to do my own processing thank you. I like my news served raw and I think I can filter better than any bot can. But thanks just the same big ‘G’.

I don’t believe it’s really anybody’s business what I like to read on the web, and that includes Google too. Because in my view that opens a wide path to abuse, including but not limited to issues like censorship for example.

Filtering = Censorship

Any way you slice it, filtering is a form of censorship. So let’s not kid ourselves.

This isn’t about being for our benefit, but more so about tailoring advertisements to bombard us with. And what will happen to all that information when the government decides to demand it? Are you seeing the bigger picture now?

It’s such a comfort knowing that Google is looking over my shoulder analyzing everything that I do … NOT. But this opens up an even broader can of worms over the so-called socialization of the web.

Don’t believe the propaganda. I’ve already told you what I think how Google’s + 1 button can be abused to manipulate the search engine results page.

You can call me old fashioned if you like but I want my information served raw and unbiased.

It’s ironical that a company that came into prominence for its so-called “intuitiveness” is so quickly becoming out of touch. Instead of leading Google is just following the pack.

(Tip: Check out alternative StartPage for unfiltered search and protecting your online data and privacy.)

UPDATE: Google has given us a parameter to add to the search URL to Disable Google Personalized Search. BUT there’s no permanent off switch. Why? Because it’s a nuisance and people will get fed up and go back to normal search again. Yay Google.

I believe this is an important topic that deserves more discussion and I want to know what you think..

Written June 21st, 2011 by | 24 Comments | Filed under: Blog Tips, Featured Tips, SEO Tips, Videos, Writing Blog Content ,

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There are 24 Comments so far to “Should Google and Facebook Filter Our Content?”

  1. There should be an option. We don’t always want a customized search result. This thing is already happening, we are dragged to these ads and we’re tired of it.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 7:08 pm said...

    @Lyn, an off switch for Google would really be nice but I’m not holding my breath. It’s all about making money, not about us. Thanks for you input Lyn.

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  2. I remember a few years ( maybe a bit more than a few years) back hearing the talk about Web 3.0 and I was so excited by the idea …just imagine, having everything brought to you, no searching or hunting - the semantic web will do it for you. Did I take into consideration the cost of having everything streamlined or filtered for me? Nope not even a little and that’s the truth!

    I did wonder though, how the heck was the web going to know what I wanted or even needed and slowly over time, the answer has become very obvious.

    That filtering is the future and like many things, we can’t stop it, its going to fast and lets face it, too many people like it, too many companies want it.

    Is there a real answer? We can all opt out and go backwards ( or some would see it that way), we can “embrace” the future and be like that song I tweeted to you ( In the year 2525) or.. those of us who care can stand up and say..while we cant change the future, we can most definitely guide it so that people will at least be aware of choices and responsibility.

    I honestly do not know what else to say except..I care, I know others care and if we all do our bit to help people make informed choices..then what will be will be?

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 8:01 pm said...

    @Diane (blogneta), as always a thoughtful and diplomatic response. I don’t think any of us could ever have imagined back then the direction we’re now headed. Yours truly included.

    I don’t want Google assuming it knows what I want to read. I prefer to make my own decisions for myself. That’s a part of growing up and why I moved out Mom and Dad’s house.

    Google can play parent or big brother, or whatever term you can think of it wants to. But not on my cloud. As for me I have opted out and I’m feeling really good about it too.

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    Reply by: Diane (blogneta) at 8:08 pm said...

    @BLOGBloke, not sure If I meant to be diplomatic, but yes very thoughtful as I have been doing some reading about web 3.0 and it has had me ask questions not only for the quote business point of view but from the personal side.

    Its going to be interesting to listen to your insights regarding opting out, both the positives and the negatives as that will give me ( at the very least) an idea about the web, semantic or not and will help me form my ideas about where I want to go with the net…going to fun me thinks

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  3. Fully agree with you on this one. The internet is so sucessful due to the open content nature of all the many millions of websites. If i want to buy a new bike - i want to see all the options not just stores i previously visited for example. I have regulary found bargains from places ive never been too before or since. We only need look at the fact that both Google and Facebook atended the recent Bilderburg meeting in Switzerland for an indication to where monitored/filtered web search will be going!

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 3:44 am said...

    @James Alex, all excellent points there.

    We need more variety, not a watered down version of the internet. And we need to keep finding the same old search results like a hole in the head. Talk about spinning our virtual wheels.

    If what you say is true about the Bilderberg/Google/Facebook connection, all I can is .. Holy Sh** !

    It all makes sense now.

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  4. We need no more filters. Its bad enough that google knows what I like, in order to bring more clickable ads which I will never use to purchase anything.

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  5. I do not think they should because if they change them then there are not any natural contents posted directly by the users rather they are all edited one only.

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  6. No choice that Google is control over what you search and what you click now.
    It maybe not fair for lot of internet marketer which not fair but for normal searcher , they would like it because they feel what they search is most relevant.

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  7. Should Google and Facebook Filter Our Content? http://t.co/EDWePka via @BLOGBloke

  8. @lukewilliamss Source: http://www.blogbloke.com — Tuesday, June 21, 2011Is the personalization of the … http://bit.ly/liswDV #lukewilliamss

  9. @lukewilliamss Source: http://www.blogbloke.com — Tuesday, June 21, 2011Is the personalization of the … http://bit.ly/liswDV #lukewilliamss

  10. Should Google and Facebook Filter Our Content? http://t.co/EDWePka via @BLOGBloke

  11. Apparently nobody could care less about censorship or privacy http://t.co/EDWePka

  12. I have officially opted out of mainstream search engines: Now using DuckDuckGo and StartPage http://t.co/EDWePka Feeling better already.

  13. Should Google and Facebook Filter Our Content? http://t.co/I0b6JXb via @BLOGBloke

  14. Should Google and Facebook Filter Our Content? http://t.co/I0b6JXb via @BLOGBloke

  15. Every time I write a post criticizing Google I get knocked down in the SERPS. Coincidence? http://t.co/EDWePka

  16. Thanks to Google filtering our content I can't trust the search results on my browser. http://t.co/EDWePka via @BLOGBloke

  17. Should Google and Facebook Filter Our Content? http://j.mp/l952Zt

  18. UPDATED: Should Google and Facebook Filter Our Content? http://t.co/EDWePka

  19. Should Google and Facebook Filter Our Content? http://t.co/scbCgEkh via @BLOGBloke

  20. Should Google and Facebook Filter Our Content? http://t.co/scbCgEkh via @BLOGBloke

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