5 Steps To Break Out Of The Leftist-Liberal Echo Chamber


Written by Oscar Henson
06 Tuesday 06th June 2017

By now, everybody will be sick and tired of hearing about the ‘echo chamber’ – or, as the BBC have optimistically relabelled it, the ‘filter bubble’ (the implication being that, with the right mindset, it might feasibly be 'popped').

For anybody new to the party, the idea is this. Given that all of our information tends to come to us via the medium of social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, we only ever see things that reflect what we already think or agree with. This means that we only tend to see things that reconfirm and solidify our pre-existing opinions, and rarely see things that might force us to challenge or change them.

Illustration by Christopher Volet

One of the main reasons for this is that we’re free to choose our friends – both online and offline – and we tend to choose friends that have similar views to us. Nobody likes being disagreed with; do it too much and I’ll probably stop inviting you for dinner. The same goes for our friends on Facebook. And when most of the information we receive is stuff that has been shared and passed on to us by our friends online, the chances are that we’re only going to be seeing one side of the story, and it’s likely to be remarkably similar to our own.  

The second factor is that the internet is getting scarily good at figuring out what we like and dislike. Facebook has learnt to filter the content that we see according to pages and posts that we’ve already liked and engaged with. Beyond this, the things that we buy online, search for on Google, and even say in the private of our homes can go on to inform the adverts and suggested pages that are thrown our way – particularly when advertisers are paying huge sums of money to ensure that this happens.  

Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If the intrusive buying and selling of my personal data means that Facebook shows me more funny cat memes and trendy trainer adverts, then by all means let them pillage.

But the problem arises on the rare occasion that some event – a looming general election, say – really requires that people engage with opinions and mindsets outside of their own. In order for democracy to work properly, it’s important that the electorate has access to the facts as they’re construed by both sides of the political spectrum. But when the opinions that we see are limited to those shared on by our likeminded friends, or ones that have been targeted at us using paid adverts and algorithms, the chance that we might engage with points of view different to our own becomes increasingly unlikely. Instead, our own opinions simply reverberate and amplify in the confines of the echo chamber.

So what can be done to overcome this problem? How can we break out of the echo chamber and access competing and – quite feasibly – favourable points of view?

If you’re reading this article, the likelihood is that you already identify as left-leaning and liberal. How do we know this? Because Facebook and Google have told us so. So we’ve devised a few tailored tips that will help you baffle the algorithms, break out of the leftist echo chamber and access the facts as they’re seen from the other side of fence.


1. Google search “the problem with immigration” over and over and over again

After a while this will begin to override the strong left-leaning bias established by your constant frequenting of Buzzfeed and Peep Show Memes.


2. Buy Ed Sheeran’s new CD off Amazon

Because he’s clearly a fucking Tory. 


3. Befriend every account on Facebook with a St Georges flag as its profile picture

Because identifying with an out-of-date flag over a genuine photo of your actual face doesn’t necessarily make you a racist and xenophobe.


4. Start commenting “strong and stable” on anything and everything

Particularly Buzzfeed links and Peep Show memes.


5. Unlike Don’t Panic

Because if this article is evidence of anything, it’s that we’re 100% guilty of exactly the sort of leftist liberal solipsism that we’re purporting to take against. And that’s irony for you. 

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