Though misinformation ecosystems may appear more visible now—made up in part by echo chambers and filter bubbles, and strengthened by misleading and inaccurate information—they have always existed. The modern news and information ecosystem in the United States presents a paradox of choice: one can easily access an endless diverse range of ideas, or avoid information that challenges existing beliefs and attitudes. Echo chambers and filter bubbles today are formed by a large number of factors—from the rise of personalized news feeds introduced by social media platforms to changes in news consumption habits. Academics, as well as media and technology critics, have sounded the alarm on the negative social impacts of a skewed information diet, which could lead to weakening of democracy.
This report included a literature review of scholarly research on echo chambers and current challenges within the modern misinformation ecosystem. Looking at case studies of echo chambers and misinformation in Turkey, Germany and India, the Capstone team looked at the insights learned from these cases for comparison to the United States. They then evaluated the effectiveness of the commonly suggested interventions and put forth recommendations for addressing the misinformation ecosystem, with an emphasis on impact for youth. There is much at stake now and in coming years, but taking the historical framework, lessons of the problem in other countries, and considering novel and existing solutions has the potential to make for a more democratic information landscape.