Reshares on social media amplify political news but do not detectably affect beliefs or opinions

Andrew M. Guess, Neil Malhotra, Jennifer Pan, Pablo Barberá, Hunt Allcott, Taylor Brown, Adriana Crespo-Tenorio, Drew Dimmery, Deen Freelon, Matthew Gentzkow, Sandra González-Bailón, Edward Kennedy, Young Mie Kim, David Lazer, Devra Moehler, Brendan Nyhan, Carlos Velasco Rivera, Jaime Settle, Daniel Robert Thomas, Emily ThorsonRebekah Tromble, Arjun Wilkins, Magdalena Wojcieszak, Beixian Xiong, Chad Kiewiet De Jonge, Annie Franco, Winter Mason, Natalie Jomini Stroud, Joshua A. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

We studied the effects of exposure to reshared content on Facebook during the 2020 US election by assigning a random set of consenting, US-based users to feeds that did not contain any reshares over a 3-month period. We find that removing reshared content substantially decreases the amount of political news, including content from untrustworthy sources, to which users are exposed; decreases overall clicks and reactions; and reduces partisan news clicks. Further, we observe that removing reshared content produces clear decreases in news knowledge within the sample, although there is some uncertainty about how this would generalize to all users. Contrary to expectations, the treatment does not significantly affect political polarization or any measure of individual-level political attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-408
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume381
Issue number6656
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 28 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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