The Filter Bubble - The Moron Factor


a Review by Richard Adams

9-17-11 - John,
The Filter Bubble discusses information filters on FacebookI am excited to be in a position to offer a demo to our potential London Partners. However I am very upset about the comments from Perry. I have been telling you about this book from Eli Pariser of The Filter Bubble. His book talks mostly about Facebook and Twitter and the potential for suppressed or forced information through what he describes as "filter bubbles".

The Moron Effect

His views about search on Google indicate he has no real understanding about how the Internet actually works. More specifically about how search algorithms work and process search queries. As a social activist this is an area in which he has no expertise. AR-15

John, this is not going to go away. A guy like this is getting his message quoted over and over. He is an invited speaker to the Search Engine Strategies conference this month, in New York. If you ever wanted a description of what Internet "viral content" is, this will be it. The "moron factor" is the effect facilitated by the reader, who also does not know how "search" actually works. I believe the pros and cons about "The Filter Bubble" will be split along party lines. We are not in the Facebook business so I have no comment about the nature of filters Facebook or Twitter may apply.

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Information filters on Twitter according to The Filter BubbleAs you and I have discussed, because no one really knows how the Google algorithms work, there is nobody in a position of authority to dispute the claims of this guy. If you cannot dispute his claims, you certainly cannot dispute his motives, until you get to the end of the Filter Bubble. It is not until the last quarter of the book where he starts complaining about how Google and Facebook should be better citizens. In short, (unexpressed) advocating the "fairness doctrine" be applied to the Internet. Google's business motto states not "first do no harm" as in medicine, but rather "don't be evil."

Pariser's example of different results for the search term "Egypt" is ridiculous. How many possible pages
in the Google index contain references to Egypt? I can tell you as of today there are (About 620,000,000
results). He is shocked that some people in different parts of the country see different results. The
results are not what matters here; what matters is, this is an example how search engines "teach" how to
search. What is the likelihood that anyone searching the topic of Egypt found exactly what they looking for
out of 620m possible results? Even that answer is of little importance. Teaching how to search is intuitive
in light of 620m results. It does not take long for even an Internet "newbie" to refine the search
parameters to include the specific topic like "war," "travel," "artifacts" etc. 

The Filter Bubble will be almost a biblical reference for many people based on the biased valuations by the
author. Unfortunately, with no opposing views his ideas will spread and now that I think about it, it is
probably a good thing. If you notice, no official statements from Google. Let the people spread as much
disinformation as possible. If search results can be influenced then the only place to guarantee "subject
visibility" will be pay-per-click. Stupidity or the "moron factor" will be "good for Google"

Eli Pariser and his book "the Filter Bubble" seems to be a great example of the old axiom; "Those that
can, do; those that can't, teach." His observations with regard to news suggest a complete lack of search
understanding, and suggests Google should show a bias toward more left-wing stories or outlets rather than
rely on the algorithms for story relevance. The "Fairness Doctrine" in spite of its fair sounding title
does not work in TV, Radio, and it certainly will not work against an unbiased information supply company
like Google.

The Filter Bubble proves Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt. (often attributed to Abraham Lincoln but taken from Solomon's Proverbs)
All this proves what I have preaching since 1998. Almost everyone thinks they know a little about how
search works, and everyone of them is right; they know a little. Once again if search was just about keywords, everybody would be number 1. The filter bubble suggests personalized results for arbitrary searches like Egypt is somehow potentially very sinister. Better search will allow you to find exactly what you need.

The search engines job has always been to provide the best, most relevant information to the search query. Google early success was because it provided "better" results. If, in the future, the natural results become tainted by
advertising not disclosed, the door would completely open for anti-trust lawsuits and Government

The left always wants regulation to deliver their side of the story, because nobody cares about
their point of view, the very reason the Fairness Doctrine was created. If left unchallenged the filter
bubble may become a block-buster for the same reasons the Internet bubble burst. Investors were delivering
money hand-over-fist to any company that ended in .com without knowing anything about the company itself, or thinking the Internet business models could be run just like their bricks-and-mortars partners. If the public finds search results for Toyota after searching for "Chevy Volt," there will be reason to worry that perhaps natural search results can be bought. Right now they cannot be bought, at least from the big 3 Google, MSN and Yahoo.

I watched in 1999-2000 an interview conducted by Mark Haynes of CNBC with the CEO of a public emerging .com company. When Haynes asked how could the company expect to get a second round of funding after losing 18 million dollars, the response was "because 18 million was below our projections." Thank God for morons. The Filter Bubble

To continue about morons notice complaints about Google going into the "flight" and travel business and potentially running Orbitz or Travelocity out of business. Whichever TV network has the Super Bowl uses valuable advertising slots to promote new network shows, their own news divisions and reinforce network branding. You do not hear other networks claiming unfair advertising practices. Now that Google has acquired "online flight and travel" technology how can you not expect them to push and promote this business entity on their own platform? You father was right when he said our biggest business problem moving forward was going to be the "moron factor."

The moron effect was a lesson not learned from the dot-com bubble. SEO

( The comments on this page are entirely the opinions of Richard Adams and his view and observations about The Filter Bubble and are not subject to argument or comment. )

I am personally saddened by the death of Mark Haynes. (Richard Adams)



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Filter, Bubble, Moron, Morons, Eli, Pariser, google, yahoo, msn, algorithms, Mark, Haynes, CNBC, Twitter, Facebook, search, moveon, social, activist, Eli, Pariser


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