Burst your internet bubble

One of the consequences of personalisation (see Smarter World) is the potential for filter bubbles and echo chambers to develop. These are key concepts for digital literacy​. Find out more and learn how to counter the effects.

Filter bubbles

The term “filter bubble” refers to the results of algorithms that can determine what we encounter online.  Those algorithms help to create a unique information ecosystem for each of us which could potentially alter the way we encounter ideas and information.​

Many sites offer personalised content, based on our browsing history, age, gender, location, and other data. This personalisation can result in a flood of articles and posts that support our current opinions and perspectives .​

We also tend to follow people online whose views align with ours. When those people share a piece of content, it is likely to be something we are also interested in.​ We personalise and reinforce our own bubbles by just following people and sites we are already in alignment with ideologically.

Filter bubbles can create echo chambers. We assume that everyone thinks like us, and we forget that other perspectives exist. ​

bubbles image


Echo chambers can result in polarisation in society, where beliefs are funnelled to the extremes or 'poles'. These divisions can be intensified by populist leaders and lead to a cycle of polarisation. This is dangerous for democracy, for our understanding of the world and our engagement in society.​

Bursting your filter bubble is one way to counter polarisation and intolerance. See out top tips for bursting your bubble below.

Top tips for bursting your bubble:


Be disruptive! Don't always do what you've always done.

  • Discover and use different sources. When searching for information don’t always use the same sources.​ Use different ones- ones you've heard of but haven't tried.

  • Ask people about other sources – consult the experts (your subject librarian for example) or ask people you know 

  • Interact with opposing views​. Read posts and articles by people you disagree with.  Expose yourself to different ways of thinking and counter arguments.

  • Compare your bubble to that of others​. Have discussions with friends about their sources and feeds

  • Investigate technological tools which seek to broaden your feeds 

  • Change your browser settings​ to protect your privacy and data

  • Above all keep your mind open to other ideas and ways of thinking