That title seems a little intimidating, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few websites now that are ‘tweaking’ the search results of their users. Oh, it’s not like they’re censoring anything. Far from it, they’re simply filtering your results based on what they think you want to see- based on your previous browsing/search history on their site. You’re a hardcore conservative, you might see fewer liberal sites popping up. If you’re a war buff, maybe you’ll see a few more articles related to battle.
No big deal, right?
Yeah, I don’t much care for it either. It’s not exactly healthy to think that your view is the only view, even subconsciously. There needs to be some balance. People need to understand that their ideas aren’t the only ones out there – they need to get used to opposition. Plus, the idea that you’re being spoon-fed results by a search algorithm…it’s a little unnerving, no?
Here’s how to stop ‘em from doing it (or, at the very least, mitigate filtering)
1. Delete Your Browsing Data
Generally, this can be found under Internet Options. Delete every single cookie and file you’ve ever downloaded. If this is your first time doing such a thing…this could take a while. In Chrome, it’s in the Wrench Menu under “Personal Stuff.” In Internet Explorer, it’s in “Internet Options.” In Firefox, it’s under tools->Options->Offline Storage.
2. Delete Your Search History
This one mostly applies to those of you who’ve got a Google account. Go to Google.com when logged in. Click on the gear menu. Click on Search Settings. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, then click on the “Web History” link. Hey, would you look at that? It’s pretty near everything you’ve ever searched for, including the result you accessed first! Cool, right?
From here, you can do one of two things. First, clear your search history. Everything, straight from the beginning – click on “Remove All Web History.” This’ll take a while if you’ve never done it before, and it’ll also ‘pause’ the Web History option – temporarily disabling it. Alternatively, you can simply leave your search history as it is and pause Web History, though I’d recommend the former.
Once you’re finished here, move on to step three.
3. Download an Anti-Tracking Tool
To absolutely ensure that your search results are no longer tracked, you’ll need to download a tool like TrackMeNot. This’ll prevent search engines from automatically tracking and storing your search results.
And…that’s pretty much it. Happy surfing.
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