Events

Exposure to Opposing Views can Increase Political Polarization: Evidence from a Large Scale Experiment on Social Media

  • 29 Nov 2018

    11:00-12:30, Clay Room, Nuffield College

  • Sociology Seminar   Add to Calendar
Speaker: Professor Chris Bail

Duke

This event is part of the Sociology Seminar Series.

Abstract: Social media sites are often blamed for exacerbating political polarization by creating “echo chambers” that prevent people from being exposed to information that contradicts their preexisting beliefs. We conducted a field experiment that offered a large group of Democrats and Republicans financial compensation to follow bots that retweeted messages by elected officials and opinion leaders with opposing political views. Republican participants expressed substantially more conservative views after following a liberal Twitter bot, whereas Democrats’ attitudes became slightly more liberal after following a conservative Twitter bot—although this effect was not statistically significant. Despite several limitations, this study has important implications for the emerging field of computational social science and ongoing efforts to reduce political polarization online.

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/08/27/1804840115

The Sociology Seminar Series is convened by Richard Breen and Ridhi KashyapFor more information about this or any of the seminars in the series, please contact sociology.secretary@nuffield.ox.ac.uk.