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Algorithmic Bias & Search Systems

This resource explores how bias becomes embedded in algorithms and search systems and offers ways to counteract the negative effects of algorthimic bias.

Digital Privacy & Reducing "Filter Bubbles"

Many digital platforms (like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) personalize your search results and the other information that you see. This personalization is based on information that they know about you, including but not limited to your location, search history, age, gender, personal interests and preferences, and other information they can gather about you. This personalization may at times be helpful; at other times it may not be, such as when it creates a "filter bubble" in which you don't see a more complete picture of the information available on a given issue.

This page includes a few activities and tools that can help you reduce the "filter bubble" effect. For more in-depth information, please see the Digital Privacy Guide.

Activities for Reducing the "Filter Bubble" Effect

Google Account Settings

Look at your personal or Rowan Google account settings. Go to: Manage my Google account>Data and personalization> Manage your data and personalization. What options do you have for limiting how much information is stored about you? What information about you does Google have stored?

Chrome Browser Settings

In the Chrome browser open the Settings. What options do you have for limiting the information stored about you?

Other Activities to Try

  • Try searching in Google when logged into your Google account. Then try searching Google in incognito mode. Do you notice a difference? What are possible reasons for these differences?

  • Do a search in Google and in an alternative search engine like DuckDuckGo. How do the results compare? What are possible reasons for any differences?

"Search Atlas": Comparing Search Results across the Globe

 

Online Privacy Tools

Privacy tools like these can help you reduce the impact of algorithmic bias and "filter bubbles" on the digital information you encounter. Note this is just a starting point, not a comprehensive list. For more detailed information, please see this Digital Privacy Guide.