A new study suggests that social media actually narrows our view of the world, instead of broadening it. The study shows that social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter can make people more narrow-minded, and even more susceptible to consuming and distributing unverifiable information.
Living in the era of the Great Wide Web usually, means that you can find information about any subject of interest just by pushing a few buttons. However great the Internet can be, it has a few caveats, one of them being the distribution of fake news.
Over the past decade, the team of ‘social media’ has gained a lot of ground and has become one of the most popular ways of communicating with people and sharing ideas. When thinking about a platform specifically designed for people who want to exchange idea, one would be inclined to say that this type of environment is based on principles such as keeping an open mind and sharing only facts.
However, a recent study from Italy claims that social media has the opposite effect on its users; instead of making them more open to new ideas, logic, and facts, it makes them narrow-minded and more eager to share facts based on personal beliefs than truth.
The study is called ‘The Spread of Misinformation Online, ’ and it focuses on two types of narratives – conspiracy theories and scientific facts.
The scientists behind this study have determined that when people are selectively exposed to one type of narrative, they will automatically coalesce, creating a group of people who will create, distribute, and even refute any type of information, regardless if it’s true or not.
Also, the scientists also observed that people who distribute unverifiable information would also tend to choose their friends based on this criterion. Moreover, Alessandro Bessi, one the study’s co-authors, explained that there’s a scientifically-proved reason behind this type of interaction.
Bessi declared that people who consume and distribute fake new are, more than often, under the influence of what modern psychology calls confirmation bias – the idea of seeking only those facts that prove your pre-existing beliefs.
The study’s co-author said that social media users operating within the confines of a system shaped by confirmation bias would systematically dismiss any kind of information that does not come from inside the system even if the truth is in front of them.
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