Social media is polarized, social media is polarized: Towards a new design agenda for mitigating polarization

Matti Nelimarkka, Salla Maaria Laaksonen, Bryan Semaan

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Social media platforms have often been described as online spaces supporting political discourse. However, online discussions are often polarized; people tend to commune with those who are ideologically similar to them. The HCI response to this phenomenon has been to purposefully expose people to diverse viewpoints. This common design agenda is supported through analysis of link sharing, yet little attention has been paid to how users discuss these links. Therefore, the common design agenda may not mitigate polarization. We study the emergent discourse in 10 Finnish migration-related Face-book groups and examine how the same links are shared and discussed across anti- and pro-migration camps. Qualitative analysis of the posts and comments revealed that shared media links do not bridge polarized groups with regard to worldviews and opinions. We then demonstrate alternative design opportunities to resolve this issue and begin to develop a new design agenda to mitigate polarization.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages957-970
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781450351980
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference, DIS 2018 - Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 9 Jun 201813 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameDIS 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference

Conference

Conference2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference, DIS 2018
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Period9/06/1813/06/18

Keywords

  • Echo chambers
  • Filter bubble
  • Polarization
  • Selective exposure

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