Explaining the Emergence of Political Fragmentation on Social Media: The Role of Ideology and Extremism

This article is a systematic large-scale study of the reasons driving political fragmentation on social media. Making use of a comparative dataset of the Twitter discussion activities of 115 political groups in 26 countries, it shows that groups that are further apart in ideological terms interact less, and that groups that sit at the extremes of the ideological scale are particularly likely to have lower patterns of interaction. Indeed, exchanges between centrists who sit on different sides of the left–right divide are more likely than connections between centrists and extremists who are from the same ideological wing. In light of the results, theory about exposure to different ideological viewpoints online is enhanced.

Tags: Social Media, Twitter