Do tragedies force us to expand our views on controversial topics such as gun control? Unfortunately not, say Web researchers who have studied surfing habits during America’s worst school shooting.
TECHNOLOGY REVIEW: On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and gunned down 20 children and six adult staff members before killing himself.
The incident was the deadliest shooting at a school in U.S. history and triggered an intense debate about gun control. That debate continues today.
One problem is that there is growing evidence online that people tend to seek out views that agree with their own and rarely encounter alternative points of view.
“This so-called ‘filter bubble’ phenomenon has been called out as especially detrimental when it comes to dialogue among people on controversial, emotionally charged topics, such as the labeling of genetically modified food, the right to bear arms, the death penalty, and online privacy,” say Danai Koutra at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a couple of Microsoft researchers, Paul Bennett and Eric Horvitz.
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by ROSA INOCENCIO SMITH