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Study determines lack of diversity in Facebook News Feed is your own fault

By Shawn Knight
May 8, 2015
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  1. More often than not, Facebook users agree with – or can relate to – the content that populates their News Feed. While great for some, others may feel that Facebook isn’t as diverse as it should be. That’s not by accident and as it turns out, it also has very little to do with the social network’s algorithms.

    Facebook has published a study on the matter in which it concludes that individual choices have far more weight than its own algorithms when it comes to exposing users to content or views that may challenge or go against their own. Or in other words, it’s your own fault for not having a diverse enough group of friends.

    The social network conducted the study to determine if it was responsible for creating an echo chamber, or only exposing people to information from like-minded individuals.

    Using a subset of people that self-report as liberal or conservative, Facebook noted that on average, 23 percent of people’s friends claim an opposing political ideology. Of the hard news content (stories about politics, world affairs and the economy) that people’s friends shared, 29.5 percent of it cut across ideological lines. And as for what people actually see in the News Feed, 28.5 percent of hard news cut across ideological lines.

    While studies like this may be important when it comes to determining how much of what is seen in News Feed is based on Facebook’s algorithm, it’s hard not to file the results into the “common sense” folder.

    The whole concept of friendship is based on having similar views, interests, hobbies and so forth. Sure, people have friends with differing views or opinions but odds are, that’s not the case with the majority of friends.

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  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,320   +709

    I've made friends with people who had pretty opposite views politically. By simply exposing them to critical thinking and information sources other than government/MSM propaganda a few of them have come to see things more like I do. Part of me feels bad for robbing them of blissful ignorance but the stakes these days are simply too high. Citizens remaining ignorant of how fundamentally broken most of our institutions are is what allowed things to get this bad in the first place. Ironically one of the first things I convinced my smarter friends to do is largely abandon social networking and start actually *communicating* with people again. Facebook is like a party where you just stand around engaging in small talk and sharing phone pics..there's no real engagement and nobody wants to ruin things by talking politics or religion.
     
    davislane1 and Whltng like this.
  3. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,035   +269

    If the study is published by Facebook, I would expect them to say nothing less since what they are saying is, essentially, marketing. What's that saying about the pot calling the kettle black?
     
    Whltng likes this.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,551   +2,894

    Diversity brings moderation, just look at Techspot. People don't have diversity in their friends list, because they are moderating their own topics.
     
  5. Sorry facebook, I'm not a fan of reading what obama and hillary supporters think about their king and queen
     
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,543   +2,338

    A lack of diversity in social circles isn't anyone's "fault." It's a normal function of animal social behavior.
     
  7. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Addict Posts: 278   +142

    I've unfollowed and unfriended so many people like you. Proving this article right.
     
    worker17 likes this.
  8. slamscaper

    slamscaper TS Booster Posts: 161   +26

    I have taken a long break from FB in general. I only use a secondary account to access STW (sales, trades, wants) groups and that's it. But even when I did use my primary account (which has around 400 people on the list), I completely kept politics out of my posts and I always unfollowed anyone that discussed political issues constantly. I just don't think politics has a place on FB. It's a good way to start drama and there's already enough of that on FB to begin with IMO.
     
  9. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    This is where a DUH! comes in. Most of my FB friends are black, Leftist, college educated, and professional. I don't go out searching for new people to pollute my feed, not unlike some people who like to always post their political views and somesuch.
     
  10. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    Wait, aren't you proving the article's point by shrinking your pool of diversity?
     

  11. sad for you.
     

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