The Guardian: Facebook a Giant Political Echo Chamber for Millennials as Election Nears

© AFP/File Brendan Smialowski

61% of millennials receive their political news from Facebook, according to a 2015 report by Pew Research, which Scott Bixby of The Guardian argues puts young people in the biggest political echo chamber ever during a presidential election.

Facebook, which runs on a series of complex algorithms and systems, tends to ensure that users see more of what they like and what their friends like, as opposed to different opinions and viewpoints from elsewhere.

CNN came just behind Facebook for news for millennials at 44%, followed by local TV at 37%, and Google News, the search engine that has frequently been linked to a pro-Hillary Clinton bias, at 33%.

Generation Xers also placed Facebook at the top of their news list, with 51% of people choosing it as their primary news platform. This was followed by local TV at 46% and CNN at 45%.

Only 39% of Baby Boomers listed Facebook as their primary news platform, preferring local TV at 60% and mainstream media outlets NBC and Fox at 47%.

“HBO host John Oliver achieved the destruction of Donald Trump on 29 February 2016. At least, according to the Daily Beast,” wrote Scott Bixby for the Guardian on Saturday. “Fansided, a popular social news aggregator, dates Trump’s destruction at 1 August while the Daily Good called it for 21 March. Salon found no fewer than“13 glorious times” that Oliver had destroyed the real estate tycoon.”

“Sharp-eyed consumers of the news might note that it is impossible to, as the dictionary says, ‘put an end to the existence of something’ more than a single time,” he continued. “But for #NeverTrump Facebook users who love any content they see as bringing Trump down a peg, the formulaic headline is indicative of the Facebook media landscape: the most shareable, clickable and likable content on the site aligns strongly with its readership’s pre-existing biases, assumptions and political affiliation.”

Bixby, who based his article on the Pew Research report, concluded that millennials are most likely to be in a huge echo chamber, listing the high popularity and share-factor of videos on politically biased pages such as Occupy Democrats and The Other 98%, and the high number of left-wing users who unfriend people if they have different political views.

“For millennials who have never known an election without Facebook, the political landscape of the social media network has massive implications for the upcoming contest between Hillary Clinton and Trump – not least of which because of Facebook’s outsized influence on their exposure to political news,” claimed Bixby. “Unlike Twitter – or real life – where interaction with those who disagree with you on political matters is an inevitability, Facebook users can block, mute and unfriend any outlet or person that will not further bolster their current worldview.”

“Facebook is, after all, a reflection of its users’ wants and behavior,” he concluded. “It’s not Mark Zuckerberg’s fault people seek out like-minded news sources to buttress their political beliefs.”

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington or like his page at Facebook.


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