What are echo chambers?

When you’re together with friends, you might have the odd disagreement here and there – but you’ll probably all share similar opinions deep down and might forget that there are other people who think differently.

These shared views can bounce off each other and make your own voice stronger, like an echo. They can also be found everywhere online, as groups of like-minded people chat in forums and comment sections.

But these echo chambers can change our perspective, making it difficult to understand opposing viewpoints and more likely to be taken in by false information. Watch the clip below to find out more.

Escaping your echo chamber

We might find ourselves in echo chambers because of confirmation bias, as we want to have our existing beliefs confirmed by others.

And just like with confirmation bias, echo chambers can help spread false stories. If you share a story that appeals to everyone else in your echo chamber, it can spread much faster and get really popular – even if it isn’t true.

You can escape from echo chambers by looking at other points of view from places you wouldn’t normally visit. You don’t necessarily have to get the exact opposite opinion to your own – sometimes this can be counter-productive and lead you back in to the echo chamber where your point of view feels shared and safe.

Social media platforms also make a note of everything we like and share and use this data to feed more of the same thing back to us. They use computer programs called algorithms, but to get round this you could follow a few accounts that you don’t always agree with – that way the algorithms will learn to suggest different posts with a variety of viewpoints.

Make sure to question what you are reading, seeing or reacting to and pause before you share.

How algorithms and filter bubbles decide what we see on social media
What is confirmation bias?
How false information spreads
Fact or Fake?