Facebook Use Polarizing? Site Begs to Differ

Almost 29 percent of the news stories displayed by Facebook’s News Feed present views that conflict with the user’s own ideology, the study found.

Comments: 95

  1. So FaceBook is making assumptions based on what it thinks is occurring based on the limited view it has into your "social" life.
    What the heck is FB thinking? They’re not. Just looking to spin and excuse their behavior.
    A big (not the biggest) reason I shelved FB.

  2. Been on Facebook since 2008. In that time, I have refused friend requests from complete strangers (typically scantily clad young ladies who've suddenly acquired a dozen or more new friends but none known to me).

    I have never deleted a friend in that time.

    I have had several delete me, and tell me they were doing so. In each circumstance it was over differences in political views between their views and those expressed in some of my postings.

  3. This is mediocre research to be featured in the NYT.

    They observe behavior but don't have any insight about the impact. Seems these guys say "25% of friends are different politically" and think that means there's no echo chamber. But... what impact do the 75% have relative to the 25%? Where is influence built? Or, is it possible the presence of the 25% encourage the echo chamber by giving them a way to argue "I'm not in an echo chamber" while hearing and taking in only the ideas they want?

    These are critical questions and without answers this study is meaningless.

    This is, in fact, a classic found data analysis error: what the data cannot reveal is far more than what it does reveal. And the only way to learn what is really important is...traditional research into attitudes, absorption of information, etc...

    Reminds me of how paleontologists looked at the found data when I was a kid and created theories that told us dinosaurs were reptiles. But they couldn't see what data they DIDN'T have and now we have a very different understanding of dinosaurs.

  4. I heard the hardest part of the study was finding Facebook users who were actually interested in news and politics.

  5. I don't mind an occasional comment on FB that is pro-gun, right-wing or anti-Obama. To get "unfollowed" by me results from simple regurgitation of third parties without my friend even bothering to add an original thought of his own. Very tiresome and, conservative or liberal, I'll unfollow if it's too frequent. There's enough politics out there. Don't put it on Facebook and nag your friends with it. You won't be changing any minds anyway.

  6. Echo chamber dynamics aren't the only progenitors of political stratification. One could argue that stoking the flames with face-offs between opposing constituents is just as devicive.

    This study is naive.

  7. I have such polarized people in my "family" - they're in a specific group I created on Facebook (Crazies) and I rarely read what they have to say about anything. Mostly because it's saturated in the most hateful dogma they can twist from their book of "truth" and of course, it overflows with quotes from Ted Cruz and Rush Limbaugh. What studies like this (and people in general) fail to take into account is that someone's incendiary rhetoric on Facebook (or anywhere else on the Internet) isn't going to be a compelling argument to any adult capable of critical thought. We aren't going to read some would-be-witty little snippet and say, "Oh gee, when you put it that way, I totally get it! How could I have been wrong all these years?!" These crazy ideologues can't see their peers as adults, and behave accordingly. Well, I'm not a child. Treat me that way anywhere, and you're going into the Crazies box. There is no escape from that seclusion room.

  8. I'm sure they regard you in the same light. There's the rub.

  9. I feel your pain. Whenever my brothers and I go home to my parents where Fox News is on 24/7, we text each others of the horrors of being in re-education camp. And no, none of us are fans are of MSNBC.

  10. Perhaps scizophrenia is more widespread than people suspect?

  11. How can I read the article being covered here?

  12. "About 30 percent of American adults get their news from the social network, according to the Pew Research Center."

    Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. That factoid has been reported over and over again in articles on Facebook, but it simply isn't true. What the Pew study actually says is that "roughly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults use [Facebook], and half of those users get news there." That is, they get SOME news there. It's completely false to say they "get their news" from Facebook.

    You'd think the New York Times' chief technology writer could see the difference.

  13. I have a Facebook friend (a retired former co-worker) who seems to spend most of his time visiting numerous right-wing Web sites and sharing articles on Facebook. Much as I find them repugnant, I'm actually grateful to him for doing this. He provides a fascinating window into the highly successful propaganda machine that spews forth the conservative version of reality, along with the dubiously-truthful innuendo and personal attacks that camouflage the Republican Party's lack of substantive solutions to the nation's problems.

    Disgusting as I find most of these shared posts, I believe I need to see them. They represent a viewpoint totally different from that presented on the media I normally consume (mainly NPR, BBC domestic radio, and the New York Times). Seeing that viewpoint directly helps me understand current American political discourse, as well as the people who de facto define its terms. (As Democrats and liberals haven't figured out how to engage people with short attention spans by spinning complicated issues into simplistic slogans, their part of American political discourse is largely confined to ineffectually defending themselves from relentless attack.)

    The only problem I have is the sheer number of posts this friend shares daily, which is more than twice that of all the other posts in my news feed combined.

  14. Agree with that but it is not FB but regular email. I just have a folder for each of them with an automatic redirect so it doesn't interfere with needed emails. I wish FB had a similar aggregator (by friend) so I could read the opinionated diatribes at my leisure.

  15. All you have to do is read the comments and know this is true. But then again media is polarized and polarizes, not just social media.

  16. "On average, about 23 percent of users’ friends are of an opposing political affiliation." These are blocked in News Feed.

    "An average of almost 29 percent of the news stories displayed by Facebook’s News Feed also appear to present views that conflict with the user’s own ideology." These are not clicked on.

  17. I don't know about anyone else, but whether I click on a story has less to do with how well it agrees with my currently held beliefs, and more to do with how credible I perceive the source to be.

  18. ALL of the ads that appear on my page are in conflict with my views.

  19. It's pretty well-established that younger people tend to skew more to the left politically, and that a large percentage of conservatives are older.

    Facebook is rather different from other social media sites, in that users have a wide range of ages and many people are "friends" with their family members. In other words, it's one of the very few places on the web where young, liberal college students and their cranky, Obama-hating uncles mingle.

    If you looked at Twitter or other social media platforms instead, I'd imagine that the users skew younger (and therefore more to the left). So it would stand to reason that the news content *they* see would be more likely to reflect a similar political orientation to their own.

  20. There are plenty of older liberals. Did you think that those who came of age in the 1960s aged out of the system and morphed into Conservatives at some point?

  21. No polarization?
    Explain gamergate then and the debacle of the Hugo awards.

  22. Sure, my FB friends send me links to items about people with opposing views. But usually it's prefaced by 'Look at the completely dumba** thing this guy said!'. Although that usually gets pretty tedious after a while. What I want is not a political filter; I want a dumba** filter. (Also, all of my FB friends are people I actually know in actual life).

  23. It's terrific that social scientists inside and outside of Facebook are now trying to make sense of the mountain of social-network data, and are either challenging or confirming our suspicions about online communication. But many questions keep running through my mind... What are we comparing online communication to? Is online communication more or less polarizing than offline communication? Is there more or less respect and curiosity about the "other side" online or offline? Is it possible that Facebook and other social media give many of us access to opposing points of view that we would otherwise have no exposure to at all? Finally, some questions need a far more refined method of study. How, for example, can we assess whether liberals or conservatives click on posts just to scoff at it, or argue with it -- not necessarily because they agree with it? Finally, what about irony? I happen to have numerous people in my social circle (including myself) who are inclines to a Colbert style of irony that on its face could be mistaken for agreement or disagreement. As we look at larger and larger pools of data, the questions become more complex, and conclusions (in my opinion) become harder to confirm.

  24. Because I often click links to articles about politicians I don't like, Facebook assumes I like them and offers me content that doesn't remotely speak to my views in general.

    But that doesn't count for much, because when I see some of the sources I promptly don't click on them.

  25. At least one of my FB connections has openly complained about "divisive" political postings, and lamented the arrival of political season, with the clear implication that she might unfollow persons who cluttered her news feed with politics. The most disturbing part of this NYT article is that 30% of people get their news from Facebook. Facebook's secret algorithm to control what you do and do not see, and its quite inflexible software which does not give the user much real control over how postings are formatted or appear, are both good reasons to be skeptical (at a minimum) of the FB experience.

  26. My closest friend and I are fairly close to politically opposite (insofar as I fall into any category; i'm 'liberal' on some subjects, 'conservative' on others, and on almost everything my thought begins with 'it's not that simple ...'). The first time I got an objectionable email forwarded to me, I simply replied, I would prefer we not talk politics. And we don't. Because dollars to quatloos, no matter what either of us says, I am not going to change his mind and he won't change mine. All we will do is mount our soapboxes, shout at each other, and pin medals on ourselves.
    Whenever I find myself getting drawn into a dispute with someone whose friendship I want to keep, or simply can't be bothered with arguing with, I ask the other person one question: What evidence would I have to present to get you to reconsider? Almost always, if the person is honest, the response is along the lines of Tertullian, who said he was so certain of his dogma that even if all the angels in Heaven came down to persuade him to the contrary, he would stop his ears against them.
    To borrow a line from Paul Simon: Get these mutts away from me - y'know, I don't find this stuff amusing anymore.

  27. The following two statements are from the article...
    "But in a peer-reviewed study published on Thursday in the journal Science, data scientists at Facebook report..."
    and...
    "While independent researchers said the study was important for its scope and size, they noted several significant limitations."

    Based on these two statements a better title for the article would have been...

    Facebook and Independent Researchers Come to Different Conclusions
    with the subtitle- Political Polarization of Users Study

    Readers are pressed for time. Article titles should reflect the content.

    When the NY Times runs a headline like the one they have used many readers will believe the matter is settled because they haven't the time to read the article.

  28. I have one uncle who occasionally posts right-wing or libertarian things. I really enjoy it because they are often unbelievably easy to debunk.
    It is a good thing to promote differing views and perspectives. The problem comes from the fact that very little "right-wing" news is trustworthy.

    Anyone who's watched the Daily Show has seen an endless number of Fox News articles thoroughly debunked. Anyone liberal who has ever clicked through onto a conservative news story has probably done so looking to find the "trick", where a step in logic has been skipped or a false statistic has been planted. Whereas the "conservatives" that I know generally stick to their own, but sometimes open up articles I post just so they can add some snarky comment that can generally be debunked immediately as well.

    So, perhaps the study might take into account the number of liberals who simply didn't like to waste time with obvious political propaganda compared to the number of conservatives who were willing to peek outside Fox news.

  29. All that means is everyone has relatives and a handful of friends that they don't want to de-friend or unfollow on Facebook.

  30. I will not support politics anymore and above that the New York times is dishonest about there storys as well as propaganda that has been known to mislead people to believe what they want. I am sorry for those who don't understand there point of views. But it is not ok to brainwash people into dishonesty. This is wrong for the truth that remain unsaid.

  31. Another person who thinks with their emotion and not with their intellect. Use it as an example of others belief. What do you fear?

  32. I think ideology is the wrong word to use in conjunction with Facebook.

  33. ' liberals live in a more tightly sealed echo chamber than conservatives ... liberal users are connected to fewer friends who share views from the other side'

    Heck, I read the NYT comments. I could've told you that.

    'A click, in other words, is not necessarily an endorsement, or even a sign of an open mind.'

    I could've told you that, too.

    (I have a FB page, but there's nothing on it.)

  34. And 100 percent of FB's decisions are based on how best they can "monetize" you...

  35. Facebook IS a giant sociological/psychological experiment with no control group, no hypothesis, no ethical barometer and no real point except to make more money for its oligarchs.

  36. I read lots of posts that supposedly conflict with my views. It's called keeping an open mind.

  37. I can think of at least two controversial issues on which a post from 'the other side' has actually caused me not only to reconsider but to change or at least modify my opinion. I often wonder how many other commenters can say that. Anyone?

  38. I agree but my experience showed people who posted their views were very vitriolic. For example: Equating Barak Obama to Hitler. Is that free speech or incendiary speech. Facebook provides a medium for much incendiary speech. Isn't this how ISIS is getting their message across?

  39. A typical unscientific, worthless study with the goal of attempting to transform subjective gibberish into objective facts to support an unsupportable conclusion. Shame on the NYT and Facebook.

  40. And what scientific conclusion are you basing your facts. It is so easy to shame others, isn't it?

  41. Long ago, most bigger cities had at least two newspapers, usually with significantly different world views, at least on the editorial page. People tended to read the one which more closely aligned with their views. Nothing new here.

  42. We always had both newspapers just because as a family we wanted to know both sides to the story. People who post their political/philosophical views seem to not point the good in their beliefs but what is wrong with your belief. At least that was my year experience with Facebook.

  43. I wonder how the algorithms influence what my friends see of my posts, especially the newspapers I post things political or otherwise. When one is young, and hasn't lived long enough to have developed beliefs based on personal experiences and observations, it is easier to have an open mind. I do not want to hear from Fox News, unless it is via Jon Stewart and the Daily Show....

  44. To suggest that clicking on an opposing view is tantamount to being informed or seeking alternative information is a bit naive. What I am struck by is the degree of harshness in most all online rhetoric today--people usually change their views slowly and more than likely through sustained discussion with others...not bits and pieces of political news mixed in with myriad other infotainment messages. There have been studies that have shown that one flamethrower can blow up what might be a decent exchange of ideas. And there will always be those who enjoy that kind of mischief.

  45. filtering system will affect the viewers political stands.

  46. Did the study take note of the popularity of vulgar words in the users' comments? And the cynicism?

  47. This story is naive. I worry about polarization and self-selected intake just of supportive information too -- and I do it also -- and how it can also foster intolerance, stubbornness and even extremism. But do the researchers or reporters really think the fact that social media users post reports about people and movements they don't like is to get balance? This is what is naive. In my people post news and reports of their antagonists not to get another view, but to paint their political antagonists in an unflattering light, in order to make unflattering and sarcastic and hostile comments about them, and so that their social media friends can "pile on" as well with abusive comments and sarcasm on their walls in long threads of disbelief, sarcasm, abuse, revilement, and invective. It's not to get "balance." It's for scapegoating, and to bolster their and their friends' views by exemplying the stupidity and ignorance and general rottenness of those they politically don't like, and so that their friends can have a party and field day beating and bashing these common political opponents as well, in a good old social media bashing and smashing pileup party of contempt for and mockery of their common "enemies." That's why the "other" side gets posted too. To show the other side's unconscionable and laughably stupidity and evilness. Not to get "balance." We could all wish it were so. Including those of us who do the same thing ourselves.

  48. This only makes sense to me because it is more important to have an understanding of what the opposing views are rather than from people with the same view as your own.

    Isn't there a saying "that it is wiser to stay closer to your adversaries than your friends".....

  49. "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

  50. i d think the most worrisome aspect is that people unfriend other people due to their opinions. I know both sides do it, but thats a little childish??

  51. I unfriended people when they called me an idiot just because I said I disagreed with their comment. People say things on Facebook that they would never say to your face. I became so frustrated with Facebook that I pulled my account off the service. I have felt so much better for having to do this. I think more of you should do the same.

  52. I dont' think Facebook is well suited to arguments of any kind.

  53. Conservatives might be less likely to expose themselves to liberal views because a lot of their views are based on beliefs. "I do not *believe* in man-made global warming" etc. Fox News can say just about anything to their viewers for this very reason. Belief trumps information and information threatens belief.

  54. Pjl, conservatives don't simply "not believe in man-made global warming ", there is , in fact, no credible scientific proof to support the theory. Liberals believe that man-made global warming exists. Can you accept, or believe if you will, we don't really know.

  55. Says the open minded Liberal.

  56. Two points: First, without a time-based comparison (between pre-facebook and now), we don't know if there's an echo chamber as a result of Facebook and other social platforms.

    The second point, perhaps obvious, is that Facebook has a vested interest in countering the concept that their influence has been anything other than an utter enrichment of the world. Serious scrutiny and skepticism of any internally generated study is well warranted.

  57. Facebook Inc is valued at $67 Billion dollars. They traded today on the NASDAQ at $78.43. Whatever Facebook is doing they are making money and they are going to continue to do so no matter how they are surveyed, polled or scrutinized.

    The only thing surprising would be if Facebook users were unaware that they are being catered to. That is the whole idea behind corporate Facebook, an individual voluntarily gives up their privacy so they can be hustled each and every visit. And that hustle is paying off incredible profits.

    I agree and quote celebrity George Clooney who said, I'd rather have a public colonoscopy than a facebook page.

  58. Did these researchers get permission from the persons whose Facebook habits were studied?

    Is this yet another case of invasive research? another violation of personal privacy abetted by Facebook?

    Why does Facebook filter the news for you anyway? "Filtering" is just another word for targeted censoring.

    Who wants censored news?

  59. Well I don't think the article is conclusive as it lacks a benchmark.

    For instance, how does the 29% exposure to conflicting information on FB compare with the % exposures outside of FB (offline/general online/other). In fact that benchmark % could be lower than 29% as people tend to read politically skewed newspapers, watch politically skewed TV channels, and simply have friends from the same political ideology to talk with...

  60. Oh, gee, what a surprise that Facebook employees' research came up on the positive side for Facebook. This is like asking a pharmaceutical company to tell you it's latest wonder drug is safe and effective with it's own "data". Someone smart said "Nothing lies like statistics". Obviously we're all being manipulated and controlled by google, facebook and amazon. As far as Dr. Mutz claiming that people who are "really into politics" read widely about politics . . .well, hello, civic engagement and *voting* is supposed to be for everyone and the role of the fourth estate is to provide the political duffer with basic unbiased information about politics and public policy. I may not be a concert pianist but I'd still like to read about classical music in the NYT. I think her comments speak to how conditioned we are to being ghettoized by political persuasion, handbag-maker preference or whatever. All this personalized catering to "me" is not just giving me what I want -- it's creating what I want; it's not just responding to "who I am" it's making me who I am. The NYT actually interrupts me while I'm reading an article to suggest five more that are similar. Is that catering to my interest or creating the interest?Yes, we're being ruthlessly manipulated and molded and herded constantly via internet technologies at the hands of facebook, google, amazon, etc. It's an ongoing, stressful battle with online technology to actually be myself and maintain control of myself. Think about it.

  61. thankfully we dont have to be taken by this positivity. we can sink back into fear loathing and paranoia, secure with the proof that "it came from facebook, of course its slanted" offers us.

    earth to ck... we are all being ruthlessly manipulated by our environments. It started one day, or night, when daddys sperm met mommies ova. It has continued, relentlessly, since.
    enjoy the dance...

  62. Facebook. Yesterday. Totally.

  63. Nothing new here aside from the "gee whiz it's Facebook" factor. The question of selective exposure to political communication has been revisited again and again going back 70 years and it's never turned out to be quite as serious as expected. At most, what we have here is evidence of what past researchers have called passive or de facto selection based on habitual patterns of media consumption, which just happens to be Facebook consumption in this case. See, for example, Mutz & Young's work in Public Opinion Quarterly in 2011 to get a little perspective.

    We'd be more interested to know about selective perception and retention of those news feeds and their impact on voting behavior. Perhaps the Facebook researchers will experimentally rig the 2016 elections in a couple of states for us?

  64. The authors defined defined articles as liberal or conservative by looking at whether it was shared by people who self-identified as liberal or conservative rather than by its content. If liberals share content that is more diverse in terms of its content than the content shared by conservatives then some of this content will get labeled as liberal even when the content might present multiple points of view. Without looking at content, it is hard to say what kind of news people see.


  65. Is nobody concerned that this is a research unit WITHIN Facebook studying itself? How is this not a case of the fox guarding the hen house?

    The worst thing about Facebook isn't that birds of a feather flock together politically. It is that they are all in a gilded cage which appears to be open and free, when, in truth, it is a social panopticon where 24-hour, wall-to-wall surveillance of its occupants is not only the norm, it is part of the entire business model of the website.

    Everything the birds do inside their Facebook cage is recorded, analyzed, parsed, bundled up and sold to its advertisers and other data brokers who want to know what sort of bird food these denizens like, where they get it, and when they fly south to Florida for the winter. The vast sums of money made from selling this consumer data to others is how Facebook is "free" for consumers. You are paying for this freedom with your collective privacy being sold to the highest bidder. It's AOL 2.0 without the $23.99/month charge because you are the charge being sold. The product is you. I hope you enjoy being bought and sold while you chat with your friends.

  66. I became an atheist after studying with Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses I became a confirmed liberal after several years of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. This article makes me want to quit my internet connection and learn to play the violin.

  67. I don't want to see any more stories like this.

  68. "The difference, researchers said, is that liberal users are connected to fewer friends who share views from the other side."

    I am a liberal partisan and I have *never* unfriended someone over political views. I have, essentially, no right-wing correspondents on Facebook. Just as they are 17% less likely to click on opposing articles, they are much more likely to cancel or block Facebook relationships with which they don't agree.

  69. I see what you did here, but I won't argue with you, either. facebook can kiss off. I won't go there for any reason; the place is a bunch of wasted dwell space. I refuse to look into others hand held devises these days; I just show them my palm.

    Be a rebel. Get off of their cloud.

  70. If bulk collection email metadata sales to Prism was suddenly illegal, would facebook's face fall off? I mean, who pays for this stuff? We do.

  71. Filters?

    This reminds me of quantum physics where if one views an event that very act of viewing changes the event.

    So now we have "quantum social sites" where if one posts an opinion the "filters" change the outcome of the whole.

    Perhaps we now are seeing the rise of a new, unintended, ideology where computer programs will form our political views.

    Let's call it "Algorithimism."

  72. A friend told me he'd heard again from a former girl friend because his sister had unfriended her for breaking up with him. This man is in his 60s. I'm not going back to high school, kids. Why beat against the current? Passing dwell time, Boomers?

  73. Since joining Facebook, I have reconnected with several high school classmates. Some were close friends, others casual friends in school. But time and personal histories have mixed the players. One of my closest childhood friends became a raving right-wing conservative, along with other less close classmates. With others I barely knew I now find much in common.

    But, I have decided, out of a sense of commitment to democracy, NOT to cut off conversations with the people who hold opposite views, however tempting it seems at times. And, out of a sense of justice, I focus intensely on those posts that contain baseless allegations about politicians and other people, taking the time to post accurate information whenever I can.

  74. I am an Informatics Consultant and personally don't trust in Social Media as a mean to connect people.
    They are a mean to collect your private life's information and sell them to national and private agencies, violating all their privacy statements and so your own privacy.
    Ask yourself how you receive joust the ADs on what you like: they study and sell your habits!
    For those reasons I canceled since last year my accounts on Linkedin, Facebook, Tweeter, Google+, YouTube.

    Even so, I am sure they didn't canceled my data, because when I am addressed by some application to their sites, they display my e-mail address and ask me if I want to restore my old account.
    I am therefore spied for life because once I failed to open an account, being confident on their privacy declarations and so cheated.

    Beware then and pay attention not to use Social Media. for example to invite your friends, because you are publishing information on your private life and violating also your friends' privacy.
    Most Social Media are free of charge, but have a look at their Stock prices to see how much money they make on your confidence and joust ask yourself if they really are the self-said philanthropists.
    My suggestion is to come back to use the good old e-mails, which were spied by NSA only, and forget Social Media, which spy for everybody who pays.
    So please, don't increase this worldwide cheating system.

  75. privacy? you should be glad you live now, not when we all knew one another and our details because the world was a small village. What has ANOMIE gotten for us? what is so better that the worsst can go undetected because the proles think their petty vices are so worth hidding?

    No, privacy, like free will is a greatly over rated scam.
    keeps people thinking they have something to protect. few of you do, they are the ones who file protective orders. The rest? quit the inflated ego! its part of the "if they knew, they would not like me" game. We need to not platy that game. Its for shamefulls and codependents!

  76. You're seriously concerned about the privacy of people who post things publically? Perhaps you shouldn't be reading and commenting on the work of the Times.

  77. people always telling me about protecting my privacy...im TRYING to be public, I respond!!!

  78. There are lots of discussions on FB and not necessarily of friends reinforcing each other's views. The only echo chamber out there is Fox. Look at their demographics.

  79. However much Facebook and other online systems serve to reinforce polarized views, they seem modest in the face of the Fox New Network. Fox is the single most polarizing entity in the United States. Even the republican party seems modest when compared with Fox. And Fox is not simply polarizing; it seems invested in destroying what exists of this multi-class, democratic society.

  80. The views that "conflict with the user's own" are generally cited in order to mock them. Until this is controlled in the study, the conclusions are gibbersih.

  81. During the 2012 campaign, I "liked" the Obama Campaign Facebook page, but I also wanted to keep directly informed about Mitt Romney's campaign without filters or second-hand comments. So I "liked" the Romney Campaign Facebook page. I couldn't believe how many "friends" were angry with me, even a couple "unfriended" me.

  82. to many mistake "keeping your enemy even closer" with "i love..." its a pity that they have this fear of contagion from ideas. its like they yearn for purity by censorship. glad they are not my mommy and daddy.

  83. I used to be a computer guru. So when I say I don't get any news from FB's news feed, I mean I don't get any news (other than my friends posts about their lives) from FB. I get my news every day from Google News and most importantly the NYT. That's it. If some commercial post is made on FB and not from a friend I immediately delete it. I guess what the article is saying is that most people on FB don't actually read the news but may read a post made by a friend that directs them to an article or video. I don't think that qualifies as news.

  84. Ah, the never ending fear-mongering of algorithms taking over our freewill. This is nothing more than just one subtle new form of apocalyptic anxieties that govern the collective thinking of the times (with minor caps, so as to not to be confused with the Times, where I'm posting this comment).

    "The algorithms are a-coming!"

    http://thechinonomist.blogspot.com/2015/01/algo-calyptic-armaggedon.html

  85. Sheesh. If 30% of viewers get their news from facebook, that is just plain sad. Most FB content is opinion, not news and goes through no editorial process (or apparently a spell checker either). I administer facebook pages for two organizations and post relevant scientific articles and citations, the majority of comments and web site links to supposedly lead one to the facts that back up their comments often have inaccuracies and again, are opinion rather than fact. For my own small group of FB "friends", the political slant is from far far right to far far left so I never know what to expect. I have fun (at times) posting a link from a far left friend on a far right discussion or vice versa just to watch the fur fly. Often, it results in my friends realizing the absurdity of their position. However, looking at the friends of my far right and far left friends and the postings among themselves, they live in a pure unadulterated echo chamber and never is heard a discouraging word or alternative viewpoint.

  86. i get news from f.b. friends because it saves sifting thru kardashian filler. We dont do dat here, or there. I get research papers, vetted and attacked by experts in that vetting and attacking. I get legal opinions that would never make it beyond a state press of record, sometimes even of my own state's one.

    I'm also one of those provocatives who loves to roast both sides, pull down the oh so "not us" in a debate. I take great joy in finding the commonalities across the great divide, and in setting in the canyon between them at times. (the "radical center") my friends have cought on, some have posted to those who didn't get it...and we all blog happily on. except fot the big fat lipped obamma the bananna eater guy. he and his pictures... bye bye.

  87. That's why I visit some aggregator sites and have alerts. Getting to items like court opinions and scientific research is sometimes difficult. My first search tool is frequently google scholar.

  88. One need not be a genius to recognize a self-serving "study". Scams are usually easy to identify by those of average intelligence. Lovers of Facebook are exempted.

  89. It's not surprising that "liberals tend to be connected to fewer friends who share information from the other side, compared to their conservative counterparts." That's my experience. Conservatives recognize their beliefs as the ideology they have chosen and liberals tend to view their beliefs as the one and only truth (and that anyone who disagrees is a wingnut). But I think Facebook is an odd venue to study news. The so-called news feed is mostly friends and family items, or pets and hobbies, not real news. I don't unfriend anyone whose ideology differs from mine, but I will unfollow them if they post too often. It's easier to just use the "I don't want to see this" option, to keep my feed light and friendly.

  90. Maybe it's just the particular group of people I have on my "friends list" but I also find that liberals are also far more likely to post mean-spirited critiques of the opposition. Maybe because they surround themselves by people who believe the same things they do so they have to increase the vitriol to be heard among the choir?

    I discovered that the unfollowing feature now allows you to avoid shared posts from certain media outlets. I've never done this because of an organization's political or religious ideology, but it was very helpful when an otherwise pleasant and interesting friend started sharing things like interviews with porn stars and "NSFW" videos.

  91. agree about more liberal smears , recently almost exclusively. is it liberalism, or is it f.b. algo?

  92. For many (most?) people, Facebook is their "happy place"—not a source for hard news or politics. It's about checking in at places with friends, TMI updates about their kids, and cat pictures. Twitter is where people from opposing sides can scream at each other with abandon. Personally, I've found the social-media experience far more pleasant now that I've kicked the habit of regular politicking. Life's too short. I enjoy friends from both sides of the aisle (both online and IRL), and would never dream of de-friending anyone over politics!

  93. Im a no cats zone. So if cats are a problem on your page...thats your doing. I mock the catery and find life's better sticking with the political posts.

  94. To all who fear the big bad algo that selects for them: theres a hack built in. you are able to "tag" your friends so they can be notified of posts you make which they are interested in. Sometimes this even affects who gets onto your feed. to fix this, visit those who are NOT coming to your feed and see whats happening there. like and comment. facebook will respond.