The politics of “Unfriending”: User filtration in response to political disagreement on social media

Jung Hwan Yang, Matthew Barnidge, Hernando Rojas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines exposure to political disagreement on social media and user filtration in response to it. Popular arguments suggest that social media sites prevent exposure to political disagreement either through algorithmic filtration or selective affiliation. Another popular argument says that when users are exposed to political disagreement on social media, they filter it from their feeds by “unfriending”/“unfollowing” or “hiding” the author. We put these narratives to the test by examining (a) the relationship between social media use and exposure to political disagreement and (b) the factors that predict user filtration in response to political disagreement. Results from analysis based on a nationally representative sample of Colombian adults in urban areas show that (a) engagement with news and public affairs content on social media is positively associated with exposure to political disagreement and (b) the amount of disagreement users are exposed to is not related to user filtration in response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume70
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hiding
  • Political disagreement
  • Selective exposure
  • Social media
  • Social media user filtration
  • Unfriending

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

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