Web isolation

The Web Personalization influences our knowledge, but do we influence the Web Personalization?

On the web there are a lot of data, that is increasing every day, so the search and navigation must be guided. In order to do that, web personalization has been developed.

Web personalization uses algorithms to process information collected about the user (digital traces) with or without his assent in order to provide more relevant results.

This system, by prioritizing and filtering some results, it affects our knowledge. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo! and many other companies use this system every day.


In order to comprehend the perception of the web about this topic, we considered two kind of sources: one identifiable as society (information news, posts on blog) and one identifiable as academy (scientific papers). From the analysis it came out that the perception is influenced by some problems of the web personalization.

Need more data

14% total level of concern

A problem that has been found is that the personalization system is not so effective because a lack of data about the user. In fact it would be more effective if the algorithms had access to more data about the user: his location, context, past history and interactions.


22% total level of concern

The efficiency of web personalization has been crticized due to several issues: accuracy, the first result is not always the most important; diversity, the results are often too similar; cold start, hard to track down the latest information; there is a lack of serendipity; scalability, inability to index the newest data; data sparsity, the pages are not properly indexed.


11% total level of concern

An important aspect of web personalization that has not been developed yet, concerns the language. In fact the language of Web Personalization should embrace the notions of semantic web to no longer be limited to simple text.

Filter bubble

29% total level of concern

One of the most recognized problem is the one introducted by activist Eli Pariser. Filter Bubble aims to determine the effect on users of Web Personalization: it hides some information considered in contrast with his own point of view and by doing so it sets apart the user in his own bubble of contents.


15% total level of concern

The Web Companies acquire and manage users' personal data gathered from their usage of the web. Often some of this data is out of the user’s control, who doesn’t know these data, who owns them and for which purpose.

User centered

9% total level of concern

With the term User centered is meant that the user should have full control of the web personalization. He should be able to set his own level of customization, or at least be concious of the processes of the system.

The gap between

The distance between the islands shows the different perception of each problem. The distance is less for technological problems such as Need more data, efficiency, and language; instead increases for ethical problems such as Filter bubble, privacy, and User centered.

The number
of suggestions

The number of reccomendations by academy decreases as the distance between the islands increases. That could be read as the society is being left alone with its problem. In fact not only there is a bigger gap on the ethical problems, but also the suggestions that come from academy are really few.


The analysis of the composition shows a great disparity between the scientical-technical side and the more social one. This could explain why society is so far from academy about the ethical problems, in fact there are only few academics who are involved in this topic who are interested in the opinion of society.


A possible interpretation of the dataset to get an idea of what the future of the web personalization could be, and also to have another point of view of the topic, is related to the possible solutions to these problems. These suggestions fewer from society, which doesn’t have the needed skills, and more from academy, which is better prepared to respond.


Which could be the reasons to this trend? A possibile answer could be found in the composition of the academic side.


Final thoughts

Considered all these analysis, the society doesn’t have much influence on the development of the web personalization. But as this system is going to be more and more present and influent in our everyday life, society can not permit that its own view isolated.