I am aware what the talk is about. I understand that he thinks algorithms shouldn't be filtering his data, but I simply disagree.
First off, if we're talking about gatekeepers, it should be known google controls nearly all of the information flow, at least in North America. Source:
Facebook may one day in the far future may begin to eclipse google, but in real life google pretty much owns the control of information. As such, if you're going to talk about gatekeepers, the only important one is google. NetFlix movie queues? Not relevant.
Ask any person on the street how google determines its rankings and they will say they don't know or they had never thought about it before. Most people see google as a black box and have never cared to look inside - as long as it works they are happy. 99.99% (probably less) of the world's population has no idea about even the most basic elements of search and rankings.
Color me skeptical, but when a political activist starts spouting off about how search engines should work, even at TED, I have to wonder how much time he has really spent around search engines. If you think google shouldn't be personalizing results, it tells me that you really have not spent enough time around search engines to know what kind of mess google would be right now if they didn't have dozens of signals they could use to personalize results.
As an aside, there are two major reasons Facebook made their changes and it was absolutely out of necessity. It's simple really: the average person has way more friends than they are really friends with. This wasn't a big problem until apps got really popular, and games like FarmVille made Facebook feeds virtually worthless. You can block apps, but why compromise user experience and make people block a ton of apps when you can just filter out weak acquaintances who's daily life does not concern you?
The bottom line is that for the vast majority of the population, any sort of personalized bubble will be a vast improvement to their user experience. It's a simple realization of the answer to the question.. "What would be the consequences of banning personalized data?".
Pros: Algorithms might make a mistake or they will filter out "challenging" data.
Cons: Your search results will be flooded with things you don't want to see.
If my search engine filters out spam results pages or facebook filters spam from zynga games from people I never talk to, or if yahoo news filters out yet another article on kate's wedding dress, I will be perfectly OK with that.