Exposure to ideologically diverse news and opinion on Facebook

Science  05 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6239, pp. 1130-1132
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa1160

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Not getting all sides of the news?

People are increasingly turning away from mass media to social media as a way of learning news and civic information. Bakshy et al. examined the news that millions of Facebook users' peers shared, what information these users were presented with, and what they ultimately consumed (see the Perspective by Lazer). Friends shared substantially less cross-cutting news from sources aligned with an opposing ideology. People encountered roughly 15% less cross-cutting content in news feeds due to algorithmic ranking and clicked through to 70% less of this cross-cutting content. Within the domain of political news encountered in social media, selective exposure appears to drive attention.

Science, this issue p. 1130; see also p. 1090


Exposure to news, opinion, and civic information increasingly occurs through social media. How do these online networks influence exposure to perspectives that cut across ideological lines? Using deidentified data, we examined how 10.1 million U.S. Facebook users interact with socially shared news. We directly measured ideological homophily in friend networks and examined the extent to which heterogeneous friends could potentially expose individuals to cross-cutting content. We then quantified the extent to which individuals encounter comparatively more or less diverse content while interacting via Facebook’s algorithmically ranked News Feed and further studied users’ choices to click through to ideologically discordant content. Compared with algorithmic ranking, individuals’ choices played a stronger role in limiting exposure to cross-cutting content.

View Full Text