Author Archives: Andrew Brightwell

About Andrew Brightwell

Journalist, editor and communications and media consultant.

AllSides’s John Gable: from the Dark Ages of the internet to bursting bubbles

all-sides-bias-rating

AllSides uses a bias rating system

As part of a series of articles on the innovators tackling the filter bubble phenomenon, Andrew Brightwell interviews John Gable, founder and CEO of AllSides, a website that has devised its own way to present alternative perspectives on American news.

When a man who helped build the first successful web browser says there’s something wrong with the Internet, it probably pays to listen.

“The internet is broken.”

John Gable’s diagnosis has authority: he has more than 30 years in the tech business, including stints at Microsoft, AOL and as a product manager for Netscape Navigator.

Now he is founder and CEO of AllSides Inc, a news website with a distinct mission. Visit AllSides.com and it offers the news you’d expect on any US politics site, except that its lead stories include a choice of articles: one from the left, centre and right.

 “The headlines are so radically different that even reading [them together] tells you more about that topic than reading one story all the way through.”

Continue reading

Filter burst: Read Across The Aisle

Nick Lum

In a new series of interviews, Andrew Brightwell talks to the innovators fighting the polarising force of social media filter bubbles. First up, Read Across The Aisle – an app that monitors the political bias of your reading habits.

“This was a problem created by apps, so it’s natural that it might be solvable by apps.”

Nick Lum is describing his latest venture, Read Across The Aisle, a smartphone app that he hopes will offer its users a way out of their politically partisan echo chambers.

Currently, on KickStarter, Read Across The Aisle promises to do for your politics what Fitbit has done for your health.

By colour-coding the political slant of the news sites you read, it will indicate the potential bias you’re getting from your news. Continue reading

Bursting the filter bubble: The Echo Chamber Club

Social media ‘filter bubbles’ – where users only see news sympathetic with their own views – have been blamed for pretty much everything considered ‘wrong’ with politics, from obscuring Trump’s popularity and encouraging political polarisation to the ‘fake news’ epidemic. New publishing startup Echo Chamber Club offers to burst readers’ filter bubbles and challenge their views — and it’s doing so well that it is already planning to expand. Andrew Brightwell interviews its founder, Alice Thwaite.

The Echo Chamber Club, founded in June 2016, sets out to “help ‘liberal and progressive metropolitans’ understand different points of view for themselves.” It publishes weekly emails, each covering a subject in the news, but offering a perspective directly opposed to the liberal consensus.

Since starting in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, it has challenged liberal perceptions on Russia’s support of the Assad regime in Syria, inflation policy, Western military intervention, and the EU referendum. Continue reading