Why Individuals Seek Diverse Opinions (or Why They Don't)


Fact checking has been hard enough to do in traditional settings, but, as news consumption is moving on the Internet and sources multiply, it is almost unmanageable. To solve this problem, researchers have created applications that expose people to diverse opinions and, as a result, expose them to balanced information. The wisdom of this solution is, however, placed in doubt by this paper. Survey responses of 60 individuals in the UK and South Korea and in-depth structured interviews of 10 respondents suggest that exposure to diverse opinions would not always work. That is partly because not all individuals equally value opinion diversity, and mainly because the same individual benefits from it only at times. We find that whether one looks for diverse opinions largely depends on three factors–one’s prior convictions, emotional state, and social context.

Proceedings of the 5th Annual ACM Web Science Conference (WebSci)