Nieman Lab: Republicans who follow liberal Twitter bots actually become more conservative. “Social media companies have been big on injecting “alternative views” into users’ feeds — the idea, seemingly, being that exposing people to values and beliefs that conflict with their own will expand their worldviews or making them more tolerant. (See also: a zillion different ‘burst your bubble’ efforts. In some ways, this makes all the sense in the world. On the other hand, changing people’s minds is hard.” There are limitations to this study and I’m not here to make RB political. However I have severe problems with those folks who say, “All you have to do is explain your side and people will understand.” Would that were true, but it’s not.
MIT Technology Review: This is what filter bubbles actually look like. “American public life has become increasingly ideologically segregated as newspapers have given way to screens. But societies have experienced extremism and fragmentation without the assistance of Silicon Valley for centuries. And the polarization in the US began long ago, with the rise of 24-hour cable news. So just how responsible is the internet for today’s divisions? And are they really as bad as they seem?”
EurekAlert: 2.7 billion tweets confirm: Echo chambers on Twitter are very real . “A recent study of more than 2.7 billion tweets between 2009 and 2016 confirms that Twitter users are exposed mainly to political opinions that agree with their own. It is the largest study to characterise echo chambers by both the content in them and the networks they comprise. The findings indicate a strong correlation between biases in the content people both produce and consume. In other words, echo chambers are very real on Twitter.”
The Verge: The Mueller indictment exposes the danger of Facebook’s focus on Groups. “A year ago this past Friday, Mark Zuckerberg published a lengthy post titled ‘Building a Global Community.’ It offered a comprehensive statement from the Facebook CEO on how he planned to move the company away from its longtime mission of making the world “more open and connected” to instead create “the social infrastructure … to build a global community.” He identified a number of challenges to realizing his mission, and ranking high among them was the political polarization of his user base.”
Thanks to Cogdog for pointing me to this blog post at Hapgood, because it is wild: Digital Polarization on Pinterest Is Scary Aggressive. “The speed with which Pinterest radicalizes your feed with conspiracy-based disinfo is shocking. I speed up this video by 400% but the entire process takes less than 13 minutes I think. Here’s the final frame.” The meat of the article is a video that lasts less than 3 minutes.
Phys.org: Political polarization? Don’t blame the web, study says. “Despite the popular narrative that the web is to blame for rising political polarization, a study by a Brown University economist has found that recent growth in polarization is greatest for demographic groups in which individuals are least likely to use the internet and social media. This means that data does not support the claim that the internet is the most significant driver of partisanship.”