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A few vocal users give Twitter a bad rep

Twitter has a reputation as an echo chamber, people following other users they agree with and blocking anyone who doesn’t concur with their world view. But a team of Questrom researchers has found that while most people on the social media site might consume plenty of highly partisan news, they typically share stories drawn from closer to the political center.

The researchers, Jesse Shore and Chris Dellarocas of Questrom’s information systems department, along with Jiye Baek (PhD’18) of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, studied the political slant of news sources delivered to users’ feeds and the perspective of sources that those users linked to in tweets for public consumption. After analyzing more than 900,000 tweets, they concluded that “the average account posts links to more politically moderate news sources than the ones they receive in their own feed.” The researchers speculate that the “widespread perception of polarization on social media” comes from a tiny minority of extremely active users with high follower counts who receive news posts from across the political spectrum, but then reliably post more partisan content.