The MIT Sloan study found strong evidence of political bias in building social media relationships
Researchers at the MIT Sloan School of Management found that politics is the tie that binds strangers on social media.
An MIT Sloan School of Management study said Democrats and Republicans alike favor people with similar party affiliations, who follow them on social media.
“Experiment” created bot Twitter accounts with similar details except for the strength of their political party and their party’s identity. The accounts followed Democratic and Republican users and analyzed how likely users were to follow bots.
One of the authors of the study, MIT Sloan School of Management Pro. David Rand, said in a statement, “Our experiment shows that shared participation actually has a large impact on social tie formation.”
In both parties, users were three times more likely to form social relationships with strangers who identify with the same party than “counter-participants”.
The study also found that these new social relationships were not simply based on “pre-existing social scope or algorithm-suggested connections.” Instead, people were more likely to connect with total strangers due to shared political views.
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“These results have emphasized a fundamental psychological bias many people have against interacting with people who do not share their involvement,” Rand said.
However this is not necessarily a good thing. After the recent presidential election, political division is a bigger issue in America than ever before.
If social media platforms want to promote more connections across party lines, they will need to find other “friend recommendation” algorithms to combat bias, according to the study.
As a backdrop, the study said that for many, partisanship is “a core element of social identity”.
Americans disbelieve and dislike him from the opposing political party. And often report that they are not ready to be friends with members of the opposing party, an introduction to the study said.
According to the research cited in the study, “Americans are significantly more likely to have face-to-face social contact with co-parties and to engage with co-partners on social media networks.”
All of this contributes to the “Eco Chambers”, where like-minded individuals exchange information with those who influence and influence similar information.
In addition to Rand, MIT Sloan Research Affiliate Mohsin Mosleh, Cameron Martel of MIT Sloan and Professor Dean Eckles were the authors of the study.