Filter Bubbles and Trackers Reveal Your Guilty Pleasures

As search algorithms and website content adjusts to internet users historical behavior, the filter bubble phenomenon becomes a reality. If you have made a lot of searches on, say, sailing, search engines will put sailing-related results higher in the list and show more sailing-related ads. Various websites have background programs collecting information on your surf habits and selling it to third parties, so don’t be surprised if you get more rental offers on sailing boats after lurking on the Ahoy, Captain-forum. If you read general news sites and click on stories relating to sail racing, those stories will be more prominent next time. The filter bubble enhances your previous behavior and potentially makes other information more difficult to access. To some extent, these background algorithms make your life easier, allowing you to faster find what you’re looking for. The price you pay is being funneled into topics the cloud thinks you will appreciate,  plus the fact that information about your preferences is sold on marketplaces like Bluekai. But what about the things that you don’t really want to acknowledge as part of your online habits? What about gossip on the private lives of celebrities? What about dating sites? What about pr0n? Turns out adult sites increasingly monitor users to sell ads and information about your preferences. Financial Times quotes a report that found 869 trackers on adult websites. Netopia does not pass any judgment on your surfing habits,  but it’s probably a good idea to clear that cache just in case.


FT story: