Breaking the filter bubbles: recommendations to promote pluralism online

On the occasion of the UNESCO conference Internet for Trust, the Forum on Information and Democracy publishes a series of recommendations on the pluralism of curation and indexing algorithms, to the attention of States and digital platforms.

Ensuring pluralism in content curation is a priority. This is a major issue identified by the Forum on Information and Democracy, the implementing body of the Partnership of the same name signed by 50 democratic States: tools used for curating and indexing information – meaning aggregating, sorting and prioritising information – must provide alternative solutions, allowing for pluralism of indexation, and allowing for freedom of choice for users.

Recommendations to States and Digital Platforms

To implement this principle, the Forum makes several recommendations to States and digital platforms, including:
Separate the hosting and curation of content functions to open up the algorithm market to competition;
➔ Ensure that platforms offer their users several options for curating and indexing content, including non-algorithmic options;
➔ Support, through public funding, the development of technical standards that promote content diversity on online platforms;
➔ Require platforms to disclose content selection criteria so that users can choose the algorithms they will use.

The report also proposes several ways to give users power over algorithms, in particular through better control over their personal data which are used to profile and target them with specific content.

Breaking free from the filter bubbles

For the authors of the report, several solutions should allow users to more easily get out of the filtering bubbles in which they are trapped:
➔ Give users more control over the content they see by strengthening transparency requirements and offering users the right to customise their feeds;
➔ Ensure that alternative options are accessible and understandable to the general public;
➔ Require platforms to implement interoperability measures, making it easier for users to switch services.

About the Forum on Information and Democracy

The Forum on Information and Democracy is the implementing body of the International Partnership for Information and Democracy signed by 50 states around the world. The organisation provides legislative recommendations to states and self-regulation to actors that structure the information and communication space (social networks, search engines, etc.).

The Forum was created in November 2019 by 11 organizations from civil society and the research world. It is chaired by Christophe Deloire, also secretary general of the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

This report is published by the Working Group on Pluralism of Information in Curation and Indexation Algorithms, where our Director Pier Luigi Parcu is Chair of the steering committee.

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