Many people may wish to maintain their own echo chambers after all. According to a new study, people who forced to pop their social media bubbles have higher chances of strengthening their political beliefs than soften them.
For a period of about a month, a team from New York University, Duke University and Princeton got a number of regular Republican Twitter users to follow a bot which retweeted tweets from Democrat politicians, journalists and pundits and vice versa for Democrat Twitter users. Over one thousand people participated in the study.
The team examined and measured the political affiliations of all the participants before and after taking part in the study. The participants were asked to rate on how much they agreed or disagreed with statements such as “homosexuality should be accepted by society” and “government is almost always wasteful and inefficient”.
Instead of becoming sympathetic to issues which were being retweeted by the bots, they presented more entrenched views. In total, after leaving the echo chambers, many Republicans became more conservative, and Democrats became a little more liberal.
The trial results present a lot of lessons for people who are committed at reducing polarised views. While commenting on the results, the team said well-intentioned efforts to introduce people to different political views can be counter-productive and ineffective. The study has also suggested that although a simple Twitter bot may not instantly change how people view different political developments, it has the ability to influence them by making them much stronger.
By just exposing people with a particular political stand to content from a different political spectrum may not mean that they will instantly and automatically change or soften their belief. This is according to Javier Sajuria, who was speaking at Queen Mary University in London. He adds that the study seem to lean towards the fact that not all exposure to differing views is beneficial. Some exposure can produce acceptance to these political views while other can lead to a backlash.
Social Media Company continues to launch new features in a bid to stage a strong competition against its competitors. The company has now introduced a feature that allows users to show their followers a specific part of a video. The feature allows users to just skip to a certain part of the video.