Summary of peer-reviewed research - “Understanding Echo Chambers and Filter Bubbles: The Impact of Social Media on Diversification and Partisan Shifts in News Consumption” - by its authors, who found:
- more time spent on Facebook, the more polarized their online news consumption becomes...
- Facebook usage is five times more polarizing for conservatives than for liberals.
- Facebook and Reddit connect their users with a wider, more diverse range of news sources, but shape news consumption of conservative users very differently: Facebook 30% more conservative, than what they typically read; Reddit 50% more moderate
Key ways the algorithms differ:
- Facebook relationships are two way - lowers seeing content from people from outside your network, who'll have more diverse ideas - while Reddit relationships are open, topic-based
- Reddit users upvote content, driving its visibility, while Facebook prioritises engagement spanning happiness to anger, hence enragement.
As the authors point out, these are intentional design choices.