[ EchoRoom . ]

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Project Focus

design research + data visualisation + system design

The EchoRoom is an system design that investigates the “echo chamber” effect that exists online, specifically on Facebook. With 61% of Millennials getting their news through Facebook in 2016, it’s asks the question what is the consequences algorithmic curation has on the news we consume online. This project is the sum of my years research on the existence and consequences echo chambering has on news consumption through Facebook. It does so through creating an interactive data visualisation comparing two different users new’s feeds visually and aurally. The system was constructed using Processing and Arduinos.

The project examines the “echo” effect on the manner in which news is consumed through social media. Recent research by Pew Research Centre indicates that 61% of Millennials used Facebook as a primary source for their political news. The prominence of this effect is a topic brought to light during the US Presidential Elections.

the solution

Delving further into my research, the topic became further complex, and the actual workings of specific algorithms, particularly EdgeRank (employed by Facebook) was unknown. To develop a design solution would have been unrealistic. Instead, EchoRoom was a design solution that aimed to educate and illustrate the presence and workings of echo chambers on Facebook.

EchoRoom was presented at the UTS Visual Communication Honours Graduation Exhibition. There the system was installed and attendees could interact with the design. The aim of this outcome at the exhibition was to present the presence of the echo chamber effect between two different users, represent thing the distinction between the news presented in their Facebook News Feed.