AllSides frees people from filter bubbles so they can better understand the world — and each other.
A filter bubble occurs when someone is only exposed to news that confirms his or her beliefs, or solely interacts with like-minded peers. The result? A society where people only see one side, leading to a highly polarized political environment.
How Filter Bubbles Are Created
With the sheer amount of content available today — online, in print and on TV — we have to filter most of it out.
We often do this by blocking information that is hard to process or digest — information that doesn't align with our current beliefs.
A great deal of this is unintentional. Social media platforms and search engines use advanced algorithms to provide users with information that specifically aligns with their political preferences. They feed users information and content that they will like, based on their interests, location, past searches, click history, and more.
In addition, the 24-hour news cycle serves more to inflame than to provide balanced news. Media bias is the norm, and both right-wing and left-wing outlets build loyal customer bases with highly partisan reporting, because people keep coming back to hear what they want to hear.
In the end, the only information we receive actively confirms our belief systems.
Our relationships become more and more homogeneous, and dissenting views are either not tolerated or punished, meaning social groups often retain a uniform partisan identity.
The Filter Bubble Effect
As filter bubbles develop, we become confidently ignorant. A study from the University of Colorado noted that “people's attitudes become more extreme after they speak with like-minded others.” When we only talk to people who agree, we are much less likely to entertain an opposing viewpoint. Shutting out alternative viewpoints ultimately inhibits nuanced thinking.
This creates the hyper-polarization we see exploding in developed nations around the world. Cooperation across political divides is becoming near impossible. No longer do we see the other side as merely wrong, we also see them as evil. When this is the case, we can't work together.
This division causes dysfunction in our news, politics, communities, and even in our personal lives.
What We Can Do About Filter Bubbles
We need to add diversity to each person’s bubble - diversity in ideas, geography, identity, and background.
With diversity in thought and relationships, we can appreciate and talk about differences, collaborate, and engage in productive problem solving — and politicians will once again reflect their voters.
How AllSides Pops Filter Bubbles
- Balanced news. Our daily news coverage shows news from all sides of the political spectrum. We give readers multiple takes on the same issue — not just one slant.
- Media Bias Ratings. We've rated the bias of nearly 600 media outlets, using a patented, fair, transparent methodology that makes bias easy to spot.
- AllSides for Schools. We work in classrooms to equip students with news media literacy skills, listening/conversation skills, and respectful dialogue habits.
- Mismatch. By connecting people who have different backgrounds and perspectives, we provide opportunities for respectful discussions on issues facing our country.
- Balanced Dictionary. Making it easy to get multiple perspectives on key terms and issues.
- Civil Discourse. We partner with Living Room Conversations and other civic dialogue groups to promote respectful conversations with those we may disagree with.