How has the lack of diversity affected the development of the Internet?
Today’s online world is growing rapidly and is constantly accepting information from anywhere in the world. The proliferation of online information has increased questions about the diversity of Internet development. While the Internet has grown and expanded, people’s access to information has shrunk and become singular. First, I will briefly present the reasons why the development of the Internet is limited today around algorithms. I will then discuss how the lack of diversity has affected the development of the Internet in three main ways. From discussing the theory of the filter bubble (Holone, 2016, p.298), I will explore how the lack of health information on the Internet has caused the diversity of health information on the Internet and thus harmed society. Further, we will discuss how the lack of diversity on the Internet encourages the development of online gambling and prevents people from accessing more realistic social news from a personal perspective.
Algorithms, as the gatekeepers of the Internet, have a great influence on the performance related to sociality with in the organization. (Bucher, 2012, p.1174) It analyzes and generates certain preferences pushed to the Internet users through the collection of data collected. The accuracy and efficiency of the algorithm is dependent on the large amount of data that is highly mobile. (Jones, 2020) This is to say that the development of the Internet has given the algorithm a large community of people to provide data, but the preferential nature of the algorithm makes the tweeted content singular after a series of filtering and filtering processes. As an example, on Facebook people are encouraged to send posts and interact with their friends. And posts that lack interaction are more likely to be simply ignored by the algorithm than posts with friends interacting with them. This also affects the posts that are recommended to users’ homepages. According to the survey, the top stories published at the same time, those with friends’ interactions and comments received more exposure and tweets. Likewise, one-third of the top stories were ignored without the participation of others. (Bucher, 2012, p.1175)
However, there is an inconsistency with the argument that algorithms cause negative influences. The idea that algorithms limit the diversity of the Internet and thus cause harm is not always true. Research has shown that Internet algorithms can be more efficient in countering cyber attacks on privacy and in securing the location privacy of users. (Sun, et al., p.4) The ability of algorithms to collect and extrapolate large amounts of data is indeed an indispensable presence in the context of the Internet’s information hordes. However, algorithms indeed limit the dissemination of diverse information on the Internet, and this can be harmful to both society and individuals, as I will elaborate in the following.
How does the lack of diversity of the internet harm societies?
One of the consequences of this lack of diversity is that the presence of “filter bubble” is becoming increasingly apparent. Eli Parisier introduced the filter bubble in 2011. Its content explains how Internet engines work through users’ search history to cause the views of information available to users to gradually become consistent.(Holone, 2016, p.300) Below, I have likewise put a video about Eli Parisier’s speech on filter bubbles. Research shows that vaccination rates in the United States gradually declined in 2014 due to an increase in searches for people about vaccination side effects and misinformation spread by anti-vaccine groups and celebrities. As the number of people searching for negative information about vaccines on search engines increases, the medical misinformation provided by the Internet is pushed to a larger group of users. In short, the Internet reinforces the spread of information about vaccine side effects, thus endangering the entire community to believe the misinformation.(Holone, 2016, p.300) This is an example of how the lack of diversity on the Internet can be detrimental to the spread of health information search and shows how easily the singularity of information on a platform can become a singular Internet that influences people’s behavior.
Similarly, a survey on online prostate cancer content reported that the lack of online content for Black and Latino adults makes it more difficult for this group to seek medical information online. The lack of racial and ethnic diversity in online content has implications for online media in addressing health disparities. (Loeb, et al., 2022, p.559) The lack of diversity in online media platforms creates difficulties for social groups in accessing health information and may even increase the difficulty of living for a particular group, thus having a significant impact and harm on society. “The global nature of communication has in part reduced the ability of nation states to control and direct media and communication internally.” (Flew, 2019, 25) Likewise, the global nature of information dissemination has led to a lack of information content targeted to specific groups of people or ethnicities. The lack of information diversity on the Internet is undoubtedly detrimental to society.
How does the lack of diversity of the internet harm individuals?
The Internet algorithm, which I have mentioned and briefly described above, records and recommends aspects that may be of more interest to you based on all the content each user has searched for. In the same way, the algorithm also allows the user to ask a question in the search engine, recommending to the user the most single clicked word and having it displayed at the first place in the answer.(Holone, 2016, p.299) Algorithms support users to see what they want to see more, thus influencing the views of the group to converge. Research on Internet diversity has shown that the diversity of Internet gambling on the Internet has led to an increase in the prevalence of gambling. Internet gamblers suffer from higher levels of online harm. The diversity of the Internet has encouraged online gamblers to have multiple accounts to gamble at the same time. (Gainsbury, et al., p.723) Nonetheless, the Internet is also lacking in diversity from this perspective. Because people who have multiple accounts on online platforms for gambling all year round, it is not difficult to surmise that their web interfaces will not have the appearance of banner prompts about the inadvisability of gambling, etc. (under the algorithmic context, that is the exact opposite of what they will).
From another point of view, well-known browsers such as Google are said to have helped make local and international news more accessible to Australians, increasing the diversity of news available to Australians. At the same time rises the concern that the quality of news that locals access through digital platforms may be lower than that of traditional paper news offline. (ACCC, 2019, P.21) The news information that consumers access through digital platforms often does not always guarantee that they are getting the most original truth of the matter. The publication of a thousand media news items on the Internet tends to confuse readers’ perceptions of society. Truthful news is less on the Internet compared to the fake media news spread on the Internet. Instead, readers receive false news that is widely disseminated. (Napoli, 2019, p.57) The lack of diversity of online media news on the Internet platform can jeopardize the reception of social events by individuals and thus affect the correct attitude and perception of society.
This essay begins with a brief introduction and analysis of the limitations of Internet algorithms on the development of online diversity. It then exposes the harm that the lack of online diversity can have on society and individuals by looking at examples of the lack of access to information for users, including online health information, gambling sites, and media news. Nowadays, the Internet is growing rapidly around the world and involving more and more users, and the lack of diversity may affect and harm a large group of society in the future.
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Gainsbury, S. M., Russell, A., Blaszczynski, A., & Hing, N. (2015). Greater involvement and diversity of Internet gambling as a risk factor for problem gambling. European Journal of Public Health, 25(4), 723–728. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckv006.
Holone, H. (2016). The filter bubble and its effect on online personal health information. Croatian Medical Journal, 57(3), 298–301. https://doi.org/10.3325/cmj.2016.57.298.
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Sun, G., Chang, V., Ramachandran, M., Sun, Z., Li, G., Yu, H., & Liao, D. (2017). Efficient location privacy algorithm for Internet of Things (IoT) services and applications. Journal of Network and Computer Applications, 89, 3–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnca.2016.10.011.
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