February 27, 2024

Escaping the Dangers of Echo Chambers

(Reader mode is recommended for optimal viewing on mobile devices.) 

This article is written by our intern, Yuxin, an aspiring psychology student who specialises in curriculum and content creation for Media Literacy School.

What are Echo Chambers?

Like its name suggests, many liken echo chambers as a mental chamber, trapping its prisoners in their own minds. In an echo chamber, opposing views are forbidden and banished. Instead, their beliefs bounce off the walls and are echoed back to them, effectively reinforcing the person’s views. Online, echo chambers prove to be even more insidious. The ever-developing algorithm pushes certain things away, and we won’t even know what we missed. 

One truth about the internet? Try as you might, you are never truly in control. 

The Danger of Echo Chambers and Their Impacts

Alright, our views get stronger, but so what? Are they really as much of a monster people make them out to be? What is so wrong with echo chambers? 

How are they so dangerous?

Those who fall into echo chambers can find it incredibly hard to get out there. This phenomenon is not to be brushed off as “ignorance” or “naivety”. Contrary to popular belief, many people stumble into the echo chambers doing extensive research! So how, you ask, how did it go so wrong? People can fall victim to echo chambers when they unknowingly research disinformation. Additionally, with scattered information left around like bread crumbs on the internet, many scour the internet and form an opinion as they connect their own dots, be it wrong or not. With extensive research done, many form an exceptionally strong opinion and belief that they are right, falling helplessly deeper into the echo chamber. Knowing that they have done their research, many even coin critics as “uninformed” or even “corrupted”. 

In an echo chamber, one’s belief can become strongly tied to their identity. They label their belief as part of their identity. While this may sound harmless, it is anything but that. When someone’s belief is so strong it becomes part of them, it becomes close to impossible to change their mind. Ultimately, you cannot prove an identity wrong. 

While there are certain regulations online to prevent echo chambers, misinformation and disinformation from spreading, there are inevitable loopholes. When these information are presented as beliefs, these regulations become powerless against them. Besides, due to the difficulty in defining misinformation, regulations that aim to take down such content are weak and even susceptible to exploitations. This lowers the social implications for people intentionally spreading disinformation as well. 

What are their impacts?


One major implication of echo chambers is how it promotes the spread of disinformation. Not to be confused with misinformation, which could be an honest mistake, disinformation refers to the deliberate intent to mislead. After one has fallen into an echo chamber, the impact does not stop there. The victims turn into the perpetrator; the victims do not merely take in information, together with fellow believers, they ‘co create an adversarial fantasy’ (Diaz Ruiz, C., & Nilsson, T. , 2023)

Furthermore, echo chambers distort a person’s perspective and cause them to be closed off to other sides of an argument. Due to their belief being so strong, they firmly believe they are right and automatically reject any opposing views. This can lead to an increase in social and political polarisation and extreme views, further dividing people online and encouraging the “us vs them” narrative. This can become a ticking time bomb for society’s peace as the social fabric becomes threatened. 

Example of an echo chamber:

For instance, an infamous echo chamber is the flat earth echo chamber. Flat earthers believe that the earth is flat, and not spherical. They claim that the spherical earth is merely an unproven theory or conspiracy. According to a study, as of July 2021, youtube channels about the flat earth have amassed around 4 million subscribers collectively. One may wonder how a person can believe something so absurd and ridiculous when there is overwhelming evidence proving the earth is, in fact, not flat. 

The flat earth theory came about in recent decades. In summary, this idea of flat earth gained popularity because people began to doubt science. Science and technology was advancing faster than most laymen could catch up in understanding. For some, as compared to a century ago, science has become something so incomprehensible that they could neither believe nor accept.

This led to some flat earthers turning to naive empiricism. ‘Naive empiricism is the belief that knowledge emerges from personal observation’. They use real-life experiences like feeling if the earth is spinning below their feet or the flat horizon to justify the flat earth theory. They thus reject facts and objectifiable knowledge, believing only their personal experiences.

Hardly ashamed of their belief, many of them proudly identify as a flat earther. They judge their beliefs as "ahead of time", and that eventually everyone else would come to realise that the earth was actually flat. This suggests that when their identity is tied so closely to their belief, convincing them otherwise is simply out of the question. 

Social Media - Virality & Human Emotions

In today’s digital age, social media has an increasing presence in our daily lives that can no longer be overlooked. The chances of falling victim to an echo chamber online is now a true danger we must acknowledge. So what are some characteristics of social media that makes it a place to encourage the formation of echo chambers?

Firstly, the internet allows us to meet different people online from all over the world. It becomes all too easy to meet like-minded people online —they are quite literally a click away. This means no matter how absurd an idea is, one can always find someone online to agree with them, making the formation of echo chambers much easier. 

Furthermore, youths today are extra vulnerable to echo chambers online. Youths, especially the younger children who are more or less chronically online these days, are bombarded with information from social media – which is not the most reliable source of information, to say the least. Many youths tend to follow whatever viral content they see blindly. If it’s viral, and the comment section is filled with netizens agreeing, it must be true…right? Well, there is a tendency of the "Black and White Thinking" - a thought pattern that makes people think in absolutes, and is highly generalised. They fail to capture the true nuanced nature an issue is in real life, pushing the idea that only one answer is right. 

What they do not realise is the calculative nature of social media. Sure, many influencers post out of goodwill and share genuine advice, but I believe that even more influencers post with the sole intention of going viral. Social media platforms have algorithms that automatically favour viral content by recommending it more to people, worsening the situation.

In fact, viral content may even start a trend and more people will post similar content in hopes of their posts gaining traction. This leads to a vicious cycle, as youths get bombarded with seemingly more content that may be unreliable, biassed or downright untrue. 

And what type of content usually goes viral? Content that plays on people’s negative emotions. Emotions like insecurity, anger, sadness can be used merely as a tool to gain clicks and likes. These types of content go viral because of how relatable they can be, and many feel heard and validated as people connect over shared experiences and views.

Recognising Echo Chambers & Common Tactics Used

Common Tactics

What are some common tactics used to reject opposing views? 

  1. They have “purity tests”. These “tests” ask for insiders to be loyal and devoted to their belief. On the other hand, the standards of these “tests” become more demanding for critics. Critics are often held to unreasonably high moral standards. Many are accused of being corrupted and having bad intentions, especially if they hold great power or have the ability to influence the masses. It becomes impossible for anybody disagreeing with them to pass these “tests”. 
  2. They reverse the responsibility of ensuring their opinions are factual to their critics. They do so by nitpicking the credibility of their critics and asking their critics to prove them wrong instead.
  3. They use partial truths, fake news, moral judgements and controversies to strengthen their arguments. 


How do you know if you have become a victim?

Five signs that you are in an echo chamber:

  1. Your community only has one perspective on the issue. This is common in echo chambers as they find it hard to accept other viewpoints.
  2. Strong emotional language is used. Elements like using all capital letters, exclamation marks, and strong superlatives are all tactics used by them to create a facade of close relationship with readers.
  3. Personal pronouns like “You” and “I” are used to involve the reader and relate to them more, creating a sense of community.
  4. The stand on an issue is supported by untrue, incomplete or overblown evidence. Echo chambers often are backed by weak arguments.
  5. Facts are ignored when they do not support the stand of the community. Being closed off to their detractors, no matter what credible evidence is presented before them, it is likely to be rejected.


How to avoid echo chambers?

Recognising the existence and danger of echo chambers is not nearly enough, for we must learn how to avoid them. 

Firstly, you should cross check your evidence with multiple credible and verified sources. This way, you can avoid disinformation and form a fair opinion based on reliable evidence. 

Secondly, you can engage in respectful and constructive discussions with people that have opposing views from you. By practising an open mind, you become less susceptible to echo chambers as you are able to critically think for yourself and form an unbiased or broad opinion. This can also be done through following channels or sources that provide opposing perspectives from you, as the algorithm on social media platforms may automatically leave them out of your feed.

Additionally, we should be aware of a phenomenon called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias refers to our tendency to agree with information confirming our existing views. It is simply human nature to search for and favour information that confirms or supports our prior beliefs or values, and we may find it hard to accept new opinions immediately. Before forming an opinion, we must first be aware of our confirmation bias, and deduce whether it is affecting our judgement on the matter.


Echo chambers are more insidious and complicated than most believe it to be. As this phenomenon becomes an inherent part of this developing digital age, I hope that this article sheds some light on how echo chambers work, the impact they can have and how to avoid it. 



  1. Allison Arteaga S. (2022, June 28) These red flags can let you know when you’re in an online echo chamber. UC Santa Cruz. Retrieved from https://news.ucsc.edu/2022/06/online-echo-chambers.html
  2. Benson, T. (2023, January 20). The Small but Mighty Danger of Echo Chamber Extremism. Wired. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/story/media-echo-chamber-extremism/
  3. Cabianca, P., Hammond, P., & Gutierrez, M. (2020, November 18). What is a Social Media Echo Chamber? The University of Texas at Austin, Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations. Retrieved from https://advertising.utexas.edu/news/what-social-media-echo-chamber
  4. Diaz Ruiz, C., & Nilsson, T. (2023). Disinformation and Echo Chambers: How Disinformation Circulates on Social Media Through Identity-Driven Controversies. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 42(1), 18-35. https://doi.org/10.1177/07439156221103852
  5. Dhulipala. (2023, September 27). The echo chamber effect: How algorithms shape our worldview. Campaign Asia. Retrieved from https://www.campaignasia.com/article/the-echo-chamber-effect-how-algorithms-shape-our-worldview/491762
  6. GCF Global. (n.d.). What is an Echo Chamber? [Webpage]. Retrieved from https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/digital-media-literacy/what-is-an-echo-chamber/1/
  7. Harris, J. (2020, February 19). Why People Think the World is Flat [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/IwJzsE8CvzQ?si=V2f3BWnZIGBNLK_g
  8. IESE Business School. (2021, June 16). Avoiding Echo Chambers: 5 Strategies To Beat Confirmation Bias. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/iese/2021/06/16/avoiding-echo-chambers-5-strategies-to-beat-confirmation-bias/?sh=52c6f7481267
  9. kaedee. (2023, June 9). The FYP: Your Personal Echo Chamber [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/PoUPVhvH3P0?si=VZXfrEBg7orWpDGU
  10. LearnFree. (2019, June 18). What is an Echo Chamber? [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/Se20RoB331w?si=_mp26CXL4IuOPzCJ
  11. MinuteVideos. (2016, December 28). Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/Zk1o2BpC79g?si=RCPwlQy-xQ914Zpe
  12. Science In The News. (2023). Facebook and the echo chamber: Scientists examine how social media affects political views. Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved from https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2023/facebook-and-the-echo-chamber-scientists-examine-how-social-media-affects-our-political-views/
  13. Sumsub. (2021, August 10). Filter Bubbles & Echo Chambers: How the Internet Affects Your Mind [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/JT2kxvmhhkA?si=rHEwTZBrHU0QOpOt
  14. TED. (2011, May 2). Beware online "filter bubbles" | Eli Pariser [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/B8ofWFx525s?si=KZd9iIR1jHAjPTXQ
  15. TEDx Talks. (2019, April 9). Challenge The Echo Chamber | Adam Greenwood | TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/UKyFL389qe8?si=GKEqRUXct_t8PkZI