Not everyone is so keen to join in, which is why The Guardian has been offering readers the chance to switch off all coverage of royalty with a ”˜republican’ button. It’s an interesting foretaste of newspapers tailoring news and comment towards an individual’s own interests. Facebook and Google already use filter bubbles, so that news feeds ”˜edit out’ the updates of people whose links you’re less likely to click on, in my case those Leftie friends’ posts about 38 degrees. They become like just a vague whisper of Thought for the Day on a radio turned down: you can sort of tell by the sanctimonious tone that your mate is having a go at the Tories about something, but only vaguely.
Newspapers have always focused on news and comment that appeals to the readers’ prejudices, but online news services can target their customers a lot more accurately. Reading that our prejudices are correct gives us a little dopamine hit, so a site that delivers that service has an advantage. The internet offers news designed towards self-actualisation, just like any other form of consumerism, and this explains why people get increasingly angry at the BBC, which can’t do all those things; Republicans are furious at the Beeb’s tone only because they’re so used to hearing news that confirms their views rather than being exposed to others.