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October 23, 2018



Echo chambers may give people access to the maximum quantity of information, but if that information is largely the same few themes repeated ad nauseam (which is why they're called echo chambers) then maybe it's preferable to sacrifice quantity for variety. I do appreciate that we may all be more open to uncomfortable messages when they come from those whose judgement we trust, but conversely I wonder whether people would even voice these opinions in an echo chamber where they would be unpopular. I, for one, am only comfortable expressing what I know would be an unpopular political opinion (or even a straight-up fact) when hiding behind a pseudonym (as now).


Echo chambers are what opposition hears when they listen to views far different from their own, unable to grasp the diversity and nuance being discussed. It all sounds the same to them. That is opposed to actual echo chambers where our dear leader and the select merely repeat the same lines over and over to changing audiences, without discussion at all.


I think the danger is not so much that the bubbles split as that wrongthinkers are cast out of whichever bubble they're in, or silenced under threat of outcasting.

For myself - posting (e.g. on Twitter) under my real name, which I've masked for the sake of this comment - I'm closely allied with

anti-Zionist Jews
gender-critical feminists
critics of counter-terrorist policing
critics of Continuity Remain
critics of Public Health England

One or two of these things are not like the others; the people who 'like' and RT my thoughts on Corbyn, Prevent and the People's Vote campaign go rather quiet (at best) when I tweet in support of Woman's Place UK or against 'plain packaging' and the 14-unit limit. But I don't think I'm going to end up talking to three other people in a bijou libertarian-feminist-Marxist filter bubble; it seems far more likely that I'll carry on inhabiting multiple different bubbles, but feel under increasing pressure to watch my words, and restrict certain topics to audiences where they'll be welcome.


Do you really buy the BBC's argument? The fact that the numbers are so low might suggest that they're asking the wrong questions to the wrong people. Has anyone really suggested that book bans are an issue? It's much more about an issue of cognitive diversity.

I suspect that most "no platforming" is done at the student union level, so asking the university is pointless.

The article does -at least - acknowledge that they don't account for the chilling effect of internal politics.

Robert Mitchell

That Popular Front of Judea guy is me!


I think the filter bubble concept should be binned. I don't see people withdrawing into a cocoon of consensus, but rather, gleefully seeking out anything that outrages them. It's not a bubble, it's more like a giant radiotelescope dish antenna pulling in every last faintest squeak of outrage from the other side of the universe.

Nick Drew

How 'safe' are these echo-chambers / bubbles anyway? Even supposedly secure stuff from WhatsApp groups gets published, and if it is grist to the other side's mill, highlighted and vilified.

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