Political bias on social media does not emerges from platform

The study points out that online social media platforms like Twitter may not be promoting or intentionally supporting liberal content

 

A recent study led by a team at US' Indiana University, found that political biases stems from the social interactions in accounts.

 

The study points out that online social media platforms like Twitter may not be promoting or intentionally supporting liberal content and users while extinguishing other political contents. So on the contrary, it says that political biases on Twitter favours conservative content.

 

Filippo Menczer, from the Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe) at IU Bloomington said, "Our main finding is that the information Twitter users see in their news feed depends on the political leaning of their earliest connections."

 

They found no evidence of intentional interference by the platform but bias can be explained by the use and abuse of the platform by its users. They investigated the biases in online news and information to which people are exposed on Twitter. The team deployed 15 bots which are called 'drifters' to differentiate their neutral behaviour from other types of social bots on Twitter. These drifters copied human users but were controlled by algorithms that activated them randomly to perform different actions.

 

After modifying each bot with one first friend from a popular news source which were aligned with the left, centre-left, centre, centre-right, or right of the US political spectrum, they let the drifters loose on Twitter.

 

The team gathered information on the drifters daily and after five months. They saw the content consumed and generated by the drifters and analysed the political alignment of the bots' friends and followers, also their exposure to information from low-credibility news and information sources.

 

This study revealed that the political alignment of an friend on social media platforms has a major and direct impact on the structure of a user's social network and their exposure to low-credibility sources. They hope that this study will increase awareness among social media users.

 

India Scanner News Network

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