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Social media echo chambers aren’t making the US more politically polarized. So what is?

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09/10/18 - BOSTON, MA. - Donghee Jo poses for a portrait on September 10, 2018. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

The United States is growing more and more politically polarized. According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, public opinion remains more divided along partisan lines than along the lines of race, religion, age, gender, or educational background. It’s likely that you don’t have to look much further than your own social media feeds to see the evidence of this.

Scholars and journalists alike have blamed the rise of social media and its creation of “echo chambers”—curated feeds comprising posts that match our political beliefs—for increasing the polarization among people throughout the world.

But Donghee Jo, a who started this fall as an assistant professor of economics at Northeastern, said social media might not be the reason people have become more entrenched on the left or right. In fact, the truth might be just the opposite.

Earlier this year, Jo and his collaborators published a report, the findings of which flew in the face of the conventional theory that our ability to curate social news feeds composed mainly of people who share our worldviews has caused the country to become more politically polarized.

Read the full story at News at Northeastern.

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