By: Dhriti Pasrija, MYP4
“It is in our human nature to follow trends,” Yuval Noah Harari said in his book “Homo sapiens”, but are these trends always positive? It’s safe to say humans are the most advanced species on the planet- Evaluating and understanding each other’s behaviors has allowed us to grow. Globalization revolutionized the rate at which information was spread. Late into the 20th century, we were introduced to the internet – a platform to communicate globally. Ever since the internet was introduced, not only websites but multiple forms of social media were created, resulting in a significant proportion of the population beginning to use these platforms. The question arises, with these increasing numbers of users, is there an increasing information bias too? Personally speaking, I’d like to believe that instead of improving accessibility to all, the internet has in fact led to an increase in information bias.
Hypothetically speaking, imagine a child is scrolling through Instagram, and they see a post with information regarding “All Lives Matter”. For background knowledge, saying “All Lives Matter” is a mockery of the slogan “Black Lives Matter” but since that child, with no prior knowledge on the subjects sees a large number of people supporting the statement, a plausible scenario arises – which is, them beginning to use the phrase “All Lives Matter” and possibly start developing “Anti-Black” opinions regarding the same. Is this not considered biased information? A young child, with no background knowledge, can stumble across a very biased and offensive piece of information which can thus, negatively affect their thinking process and judgment.
Building on, the filter bubble, a very controversial yet useful feature for the internet. An opinion, a fact, or any form of information that may or may not be useful could still be filtered by the choice of the majority. For example, the Indian government filtered out comments supporting the farmers during the farmer’s protest. Someone like me, a young student whose only source of news is the internet, wasn’t informed about this until I read it in the newspaper. We, as individuals, don’t get to choose what we see. Biased opinions are just like the government’s attempt to turn people against the farmers.
On the other hand, one may assert the internet does also reflect good opinions on its audience. From the numerous subjects that have gained popularity – from supporting LGBTQ+ rights, Women’s Rights, or simply Global Warming; however, I’d like you to read the statement again. I will quote it once again for you, “the Increase in information bias”. Whether it is a good or a bad opinion, fake or real news, the internet does bias information. That information causes people to form their opinions based on trends or the majority, not allowing any scope for imagination. Any news agency will use stay true to their bias and twist headlines to appeal to a certain demographic, or to make one sway.
Have you ever seen someone with a “perfect” body and “perfect” life, live their “perfect” day? I’d like to point out the fact that not only is the content or opinions on the internet fake, but the people are as well. Although “Perfection” is subjective, people, especially young kids, are introduced to the biased idea of what perfection is. In context to my question, it is a “small figure”, “fair skin”, “rich life”, and so on. These misleading words are giving us false hopes which may drastically affect our lives. Thereby, resulting in depression, body dysmorphia, or even eating disorders. Reflect. Reflect upon how many times you have stumbled across biased information, or fake trolls. You came on the internet to have “accessibility” to more people, information but instead fell into this subconscious trap of lies. Yes, the internet is a great tool, it helps us connect with each other, access information, entertain ourselves, and serve a multitude of other purposes. But we must address and combat this increasing bias information troll.
You, me, your family, your friends, and the other 4 billion people who use the internet, we are victims or even predators of fake, biased information on the internet. Let’s try and use the internet wisely by analyzing and interpreting every piece of information we see or read on the internet and only then form an opinion/study based on it.
Dhriti Pasrija, MYP4