Facebook & Ideological Segregation

Yup, this is going to be a Trump post – so I can understand if you’d wanna skip reading it.

Trump winning the 2016 American election surprised a lot of people. A LOT.

I wasn’t so surprised though. Not because I supported him. Gosh no. Just that there was an obvious and observable disenfranchisement of Republicans occurring across America, and it was ultimately unsurprising that they voted the way they did.

And Facebook, in a way, made it possible.

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Hear me out.

Facebook enables a structured flow of information that is dependent on those who you network with – and therefore there tends to be a clustering of political ideologies within social groups distinguished by demographic and geographic location. Essentially, who you’re friends with on Facebook.

In a digital climate, people’s exposure to news and civic information is increasingly being filtered through social media – namely Facebook. And the news stories they are being exposed to is reliant on the social network of friends that have selected and cultivated for themselves. Thus we have the creation of a type of ideological segregation, where people choose to be part of one ideological circle and segregate themselves away from the opposition viewpoint. In Republican America, where individuals are already feeling disenfranchised and isolated from the nation’s political rhetoric, it doesn’t matter if the news they are exposed to is “fake news”, at least it’s not liberal news from Team Hillary.

And from a particular perspective it’s an awesome underdog story, of how a disenfranchised people found their voice through the medium of new technology.

It’s a shame it just had to result in Trump.

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