HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE IN AN "ECHO CHAMBER"?

An echo chamber is an environment where a person only encounters information or opinions that reflect and reinforce their own.

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Echo chambers can create misinformation and distort a person’s perspective so they have difficulty considering opposing viewpoints and discussing complicated topics. They’re fueled in part by confirmation bias, which is the tendency to favor info that reinforces existing beliefs.  Learn more in this short 2-minute video:

Echo chambers an also be tricky to recognize, especially if you are in one. If you’re ever wondering if a social group or website may be an echo chamber, stop and think about a few questions:

  • Do they tend to only give one perspective on an issue?

  • Is that viewpoint mainly supported by rumor or incomplete evidence?

  • Are facts ignored whenever they go against that viewpoint?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may have found an echo chamber. There is no perfect way to avoid echo chambers, but here are a few tips that can help you stay on track:

multiple sources

Make a habit of checking multiple news sources to ensure you are getting complete and objective information.

different perspectives

Interact with people who have different perspectives, and take care to discuss new ideas with facts, patience, and respect.

check your own thinking

Remember, just because you want something to be true, does not make it a fact.

The Internet also has a unique type of echo chamber called a filter bubble. Filter bubbles are created by algorithms that keep track of what you click on. Websites will then use those algorithms to primarily show you content that’s similar to what you’ve already expressed interest in. This can prevent you from finding new ideas and perspectives online.

So remember to
look at multiple sources, seek different perspectives and check your own thinking. No matter where you go or who you meet, always take the time to stay informed and avoid echo chambers. 

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