Facebook and Twitter users were more likely to interact with information shared by users with similar views. This was the result of a recent study.
Matteo Cinelli, Gianmarco De Francisci Morales, Alessandro Galeazzi, Walter Quattrociocchi and Michele Starnini carried out the study entitled “The echo chamber effect on social media”. The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
The researchers analyzed more than 100 million posts collected between 2010 and 2018 by Facebook, Gab, Reddit and Twitter on controversial topics such as abortion, gun control and vaccination. They found that when compared to Reddit users, Facebook and Twitter users were more likely to interact with information shared by users with similar views.
Gab users showed some similarities to Reddit users, but with more polarization overall. Users grouped into like-minded clusters dominated Facebook’s online dynamics and were separated from opposing views, but not from Reddit, where users can change their feed algorithms, suggesting that both user attitudes and platform dynamics are driving the spread of Information on social media influences the authors.
“We examine the main differences between the major social media platforms and how they are likely to affect the dissemination of information and the formation of echo chambers,” the study says.
To assess the different dynamics, we conduct a comparative analysis of more than 100 million pieces of content on controversial topics (e.g. gun control, vaccination, abortion) from Gab, Facebook, Reddit and Twitter. The analysis focuses on two main dimensions:
1) Homophilia in the interaction networks and
2) Bias in disseminating information towards like-minded people. Our results show that aggregation in homophile user clusters dominates online dynamics.
However, a direct comparison of message consumption on Facebook and Reddit shows higher segregation on Facebook.
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