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The internet, particularly social media, fertilize group behavior from false beliefs. Informational cascades "in which otherwise rational individuals base their decisions not only on their own private information, but also on the actions of those who act before them"... can take on massive proportions ..."

Information Technology Amplifies Irrational Group Behavior

Web tools and social media are our key sources of information when we make decisions as citizens and consumers. But these information technologies can mislead us by magnifying social processes that distort facts and make us act contrary to our own interests ...

New research from the University of Copenhagen, which has just been published in the journal Metaphilosophy, combines formal philosophy, social psychology, and decision theory to understand and tackle these phenomena.

...'group polarization' and 'information selection' ...pose threats to democratic discusson when amplified by online media.

"In group polarization, which is well-documented by social psychologists, an entire group may shift to a more radical viewpoint after a discussion even though the individual group members did not subscribe to this view prior to the discussion. This happens for a number of reasons -- one is that group members want to represent themselves in a favourable light in the group by adopting a viewpoint slightly more extreme than the perceived mean. In online forums, this well-known phenomenon is made even more problematic by the fact that discussions take place in settings where group members are fed only the ctheir worldview, making the discussion forum an echo chamber where group members only hear their own voices,"...

... algorithms that are intended to filter away irrelevant information -- known as information selection -- so that we are only served content that fits our clicking history is, from a democratic perspective, a problem ...

Atheist Nexus is a selective social media environment. However, our narrowness doesn't exclude facts from any secular sources. Information that fits a secular worldview is vast, vast ,vast.

Tags: inherent media bias toward unreason

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Replies to This Discussion

"Companies such as Google and Facebook have designed algorithms that are intended to filter away irrelevant information -- known as information selection -- so that we are only served content that fits our clicking history. According to Professor Hendricks this is, from a democratic perspective, a problem as you may never in your online life encounter views or arguments that contradict your worldview."

Oh! that explains all the information I get on anything from birdhouses, communism, socialism, capitalism, free market economies, Ayn Rand, economics of all varieties, green politics, compost, skunks, etc. 

When you're logged into Google, there's indeed an option at the top of your search results to show "personal" results or not.

Grinning Cat, you are a treasure. I have never paid any attention to these options. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. 


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