The filter bubble – a constructivist approach

Teodora Diana Chiș

 The social media filter bubble has been a widely discussed issue in the aftermath of the most recent global political events. The following paper aims to explore this issue through the lenses of social constructivism. I will attempt to draw inspiration from the social construction of technology theory in order to explain the effects of the feed algorithms present in the design of social media platforms. In order to accomplish this, I will try to understand the interaction between the users and the platforms from a psychological viewpoint. The concepts of relational motives, epistemic motives and existential motives represent a relevant guide for explaining the needs and characteristics of the users that have lead to the development of elective affinities towards sources of information that are congruent with one’s worldview. I will argue that this is a part of the social construction of the digital technological artifact represented by the feed algorithm and is reflected in the tendency that individuals display towards ideological thinking. Finally, the main thesis of this paper is that the design of the social media platforms, with the addition of the feed algorithms, is not the main explanation for the filter bubble issue, but the nature of the user and the needs that drives them towards forming ideological affiliations.