Flipfeed Google Chrome Extension
Flipfeed will let you see how other people's Twitter feeds look to them. Pictured: An illustration picture shows the Twitter logo reflected in the eye of a woman in Berlin, Nov. 7, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

People using social media generally build a wall around themselves by getting posts or opinions only from people they follow. This, in turn, skews users’ perception about whatever is trending on social networks such as Twitter and about the world in general.

FlipFeed is a Chrome extension that will help users avoid their social media feeling like a bubble by letting them flip over to a random user’s Twitter feed, which will show what the user sees when he/she opens his/her Twitter feed.

The extension has been created by the Laboratory of Social Machines — launched in October 2014 with a $10 million investment from Twitter — at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Powered by deep learning and social network analysis, feeds are selected based on inferred political ideology ("left" or "right") and served to users of the extension. For example, a right-leaning user who uses FlipFeed may load and navigate a left-leaning user's feed, observing the news stories, commentary, and other content they consume,” FlipFeed's website says.

Basically, the idea is to expose people to different views than their own. Since social media websites generally let people set their preferences and filters for the content they like, it is likely that users might not be able to form diverse opinions as they are not exposed to diverse views. By giving them the option of flipping to a random Twitter feed, FlipFeed might help them see what is happening outside the zone they have restricted themselves in their social media usage.

The idea seems relevant especially in the backdrop of the recently concluded U.S. presidential election during which social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter were blamed for spreading fake news and influencing the opinions of voters.