Homophily refers to the tendency of individuals to connect and interact with others with similar traits. People apply these characteristics while talking about politics and engaging in conversation on social media.
During the 2016 presidential elections, fake news was a much-discussed issue, and social media users also engaged in conversation about fake news. The sense of homophily and ideological misunderstanding of fake news are likely to allow the propagation of fake news to run unchecked.
John Brummette of Radford University, Marcia DiStaso of University of Florida, Michail Vafeiadis of Auburn University, and Marcus Messner of Virginia Commonwealth University examined how the combination of the advanced capabilities of social media and a sense of homophily create echo chambers around political discussions of fake news.
The authors extracted a total of 8,195 tweets using the search term “fake news” on March 9, 2017.
Results revealed that politics play a role in the discussion of “fake news” among social media users where conversations overshadowed logical and important discussions of the term. Users from opposing political parties communicate in homophilous environments and use “fake news” to disparage the opposition and condemn real information disseminated by the opposition party members.
To read the full text of the study: https://bit.ly/2NirvGJ
Brummette, J., DiStaso, M., Vafeiadis, M., & Messner, M. (2018). Read All About It: The Politicization of “Fake News” on Twitter. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 95(2), 497-517.