Fragmented Social Media: A Look into Selective Exposure to Political News


The hypothesis of selective exposure assumes that people crave like-minded information and eschew information that conflicts with their beliefs, and that has negative consequences on political life. Yet, despite decades of research, this hypothesis remains theoretically promising but empirically difficult to test. We look into news articles shared on Facebook and examine whether selective exposure exists or not in social media. We find a concrete evidence for a tendency that users predominantly share like-minded news articles and avoid conflicting ones, and partisans are more likely to do that. Building tools to counter partisanship on social media would require the ability to identify partisan users first. We will show that those users cannot be distinguished from the average user as the two subgroups do not show any demographic difference.

Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on World Wide Web (WWW)