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Turn and face the strange: Investigating filter bubble bursting information interactions

McKay, D., Owyong, K., Makri, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-5817-4893 & Gutierrez Lopez, M. (2022). Turn and face the strange: Investigating filter bubble bursting information interactions. In: UNSPECIFIED (pp. 233-242). Association for Computing Machinery. ISBN 9781450391863 doi: 10.1145/3498366.3505822


It is a 'truth universally acknowledged' that people prefer to minimize encounters with information they disagree with and ignore it where they find it. Algorithms purportedly support this avoidance by creating filter bubbles filled only with agreeable information potentially increasing polarisation and undermining democracy. How accurate is this portrayal, though? Recent research has begun to cast doubt. We challenge these assumptions and report a two-phase analysis of filter bubble-bursting behavior. The first phase reports novel incidental findings from an interview study on the role of information interaction in view change. Participants demonstrated a clear interest in a diversity of information, including information specifically opposed to their own views. The second phase reports findings from a diary study specifically designed to investigate people's interactions with information that reflected a different view to theirs. We examine how people found disagreeable information, how they responded to it and the factors affecting their responses. We find that people will sometimes actively seek and engage with disagreeable information, rather than avoid and ignore it. Our findings pave the way for future information interfaces that support this previously undiscussed information interaction.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Copyright © 2022 ACM. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published by ACM: 10.1145/3498366.3505822
Publisher Keywords: information interaction, social media, Filter bubbles, view change, echo chambers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
Text - Accepted Version
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