Give Now

Delays, Closings and Severe Weather - View All Alerts and Updates

IU Study Finds Social News Consumers’ Clicks Less Diverse

Twitter on an iPhone

Millions of news consumers who get their information through social media are more likely to be trapped in a social bubble, according to a study from the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing.

Researchers studied more than 100 million web clicks and 1.3 billion social media posts from 2006 to 2010 — and they found social media news consumers get their information from a less diverse range of sources versus those who get their news through search engines.

“People should be aware that the channels they use to find information can affect what they’re exposed to,” Dimitar Nikolov, one of the study’s authors says.

His research found that despite the massive availability of information on the web, social media users often find themselves trapped in bubbles, where they’re getting news from fewer sources.

The study quantitatively tracked users’ web traffic and assigned them a score based on the range and diversity of their clicks.

Study co-author and professor Filippo Menczer says to challenge social bubbles, users first need to be aware of their existence.

“Perhaps sometimes you see an opinion that doesn’t quite square with your opinion and you might want to think twice about unfriending that person because that person, even if you don’t agree with them, can provide a different perspective,” he says.

Nikolov says the research will continue using more recent data.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From