DIGITAL POLARISATION IS A CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT INVESTIGATING GOOGLE'S INFLUENCE ON POLARISATION IN OUR SOCIETY. BY INSTALLING THE BROWSER EXTENSION, YOU CAN SUPPORT THE PROJECT. YOUR HELP IS NEEDED AS WELL!
Search engines and their effect on polarisation within our society have yet to be discovered. With the rapid emergence of new digital platforms and the growth of existing platforms, people have greater access to information, products, and the expression of their opinions. This technological development has given us previously unthinkable opportunities, but unfortunately, there is also a downside to using these platforms.
Search engines like Google are crucial in the daily search for information. People search for different topics: from news and sport to entertainment and medical information. Search engines must provide information that is accurate, relevant and reliable. However, search results are often personalised based on your personal data. As a result, you may see different information than your family, friends and colleagues.
Everyone needs to have access to the same information and be diversely informed. If this is not the case, you can end up in a filter bubble or echo chamber without being aware of it. You are only presented with opinions and news that match your views. Personalised search results greatly impact getting information on, for instance, elections or sensitive topics.
It is suggested that using digital platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Youtube creates filter bubbles and echo chambers. This puts us increasingly in touch with like-minded people, excludes other opinions, and potentially creates polarisation. However, there is disagreement in science about the answer to whether these platforms fuel polarisation. Only a few researchers have been able to prove polarisation, and many have debunked it.
Digitale Polarisatie developed a browser extension to find out the impact of search engines on polarisation. This extension performs searches on Google and Youtube in the background. The search results collected from these platforms will be examined and compared. You can easily participate as a citizen scientist by adding the browser extension to your browser. In addition, you can make suggestions for searches during the process and eventually, the results will be published.