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Filter Bubbles: From Academic Debate to Robust Empirical Analysis

Sat, May 26, 9:30 to 10:45, Hilton Prague, M, Yoga Room (Cybex Health Club)

Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract

Co-organizers:
Anja Bechmann, Aarhus University 
Bibi Reisdorf, Michigan State University 
Oscar Westlund, University of Gothenburg & Volda University College

This panel will explore filter bubbles as social mechanisms that may prevent the public from finding diverse information on potentially important issues. To date, empirical research has not been able to offer a clear understanding on the existence and impact of filter bubbles. In an attempt to address this void, each of the panel presenters will present empirical analyses on the topic, along with discussions on the empirical operationalization of the concept of filter bubbles.

The panel consists of four presentations and will be moderated by Oscar Westlund (University of Gothenburg & Volda University College) and Esther Thorson (Michigan State University) will act as a respondent. Together the presentations will present studies using social media data traces as well as survey data from many different countries. This will allow for an in-depth discussion that is sensitive to market differences focusing on: if and how filter bubbles are visible in social media data traces, how people perceive their ‘self-filtering’ actions and what the drivers for concerns about filter bubbles are. The panel presentations are as follows:

Sociality as Predictor of Filter Bubbles: A Case Study of Danes’ Private Facebook Newsfeeds by Anja Bechmann & Kristoffer Nielbo, Aarhus University & University of Southern Denmark

Following, Mentioning, Sharing: A Search for Filter Bubbles in the Australian Twittersphere by Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology

Delete, Block, Unfriend: Do Internet Users Create Homogeneous Networks Online? by Bianca Christin Reisdorf, Michigan State University

How can we Square the Filter Bubble? by Neil Thurman, LM University Munich

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