Face­book Makes Us Nar­rowMinded

Technowize Magazine - - Technowize Features -

So far, we’ve read that Face­book makes us bor­ing, lazy and in­se­cure. Now comes a stim­u­lat­ing re­port that it also makes us nar­row-minded. The re­search, pub­lished in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Academy of Sciences, an­a­lyzed Face­book data about the top­ics peo­ple dis­cussed on the so­cial net­work in 2010 and 2014. it con­cluded: “users tend to ag­gre­gate in com­mu­ni­ties of in­ter­est, which causes re­in­force­ment and fos­ters con­fir­ma­tion bias, seg­re­ga­tion and po­lar­iza­tion. This comes at the ex­pense of the qual­ity of in­for­ma­tion and leads to pro­lif­er­a­tion of bi­ased nar­ra­tives fo­mented by un­sub­stan­ti­ated ru­mors, mis­trust, and para­noia.”

Any­one and ev­ery­one would agree that nar­row-minded is a pretty broad term. The phrase gen­er­ally car­ries a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion, and here, im­plies that Face­book has be­come an ‘echo cham­ber’ of the hu­man so­ci­ety. Peo­ple want to re­ceive news that con­firms their be­lief, which means they end up miss­ing half the pic­ture.

The re­port sug­gests that Face­book users tend to as­sim­i­late to­gether into ho­moge­nous groups. both, sci­ence news and con­spir­acy the­o­ries, are shared and re­in­forced in a way that may ex­plain how cer­tain phe­nom­ena, such as re­jec­tion of global warm­ing ev­i­dence be­come wide­spread.

The find­ings show that sci­ence news spreads quickly, and even if the story sticks around for a long time, peo­ple don’t re­tain a high level of in­ter­est. Con­spir­acy the­o­ries, on the other hand, spread slowly, how­ever, peo­ple re­tain high in­ter­est over time. Now this is some­thing to think about, con­sid­er­ing how ideas can im­pact vot­ing, pol­icy de­ci­sions, health de­ci­sions, etc.

“This comes at the ex­pense of the qual­ity of the in­for­ma­tion and leads to

pro­lif­er­a­tion of bi­ased nar­ra­tives fo­mented by un­sub­stan­ti­ated ru­mors, mis­trust, and para­noia,” they added.

Re­searchers warned that the prob­lem of ‘fake news’ go­ing vi­ral on­line has be­come so se­ri­ous, it is classed as one of the big­gest so­cial threats by the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum. “Mas­sive dig­i­tal mis­in­for­ma­tion is be­com­ing per­va­sive in on­line so­cial me­dia to the ex­tent that it has been listed by the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum as one of the main threats to our so­ci­ety,” they said.

Although the re­searchers fo­cus on Face­book, the ideas will prob­a­bly ex­tend to other forms of so­cial me­dia, in­clud­ing Twit­ter, Red­dit and even in­sta­gram.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.