Europe

Breaking the echo chamber: Divisions, culture wars and how to end them

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In France, 28 percent of people get their news from social networks and almost half of under 35s say it’s their main source of information. An information revolution – but there’s a downside to it too. Internet giants like Google and Facebook use algorithms to tailor future results just for you, in line with your past clicks and “likes”. That means we end up trapped in our own personal filter bubbles – with all future results weighted to be in line with what each of us already likes or agrees with.

What we miss out on is objectivity and nuance. We only hear one side of the story and the consequences can be far-reaching.  

To counter this “filter bubble” effect, FRANCE 24 recently took part in a Europe-wide experiment called “Europe Talks”.

Along with 17 other European media, we recruited 12,000 people from across the continent to be matched up with someone with opposite views on a host of topics; from mask-wearing to pandemic school opening, the treatment of refugees to car-free cities. 

These debates all took place online in mid-December – in this programme we ask two of them to replay their debate, and speak to the mayors of Strasbourg, and of Bucharest’s Sector 1, about how to give citizens a bigger role in public decision-making.

Programme prepared by Céline Schmitt 

 



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