Most users do not follow political elites on Twitter; those who do show overwhelming preferences for ideological congruity

Magdalena Wojcieszak, Andreu Casas, Xudong Yu, Jonathan Nagler, Joshua A. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We offer comprehensive evidence of preferences for ideological congruity when people engage with politicians, pundits, and news organizations on social media. Using 4 years of data (2016–2019) from a random sample of 1.5 million Twitter users, we examine three behaviors studied separately to date: (i) following of in-group versus out-group elites, (ii) sharing in-group versus out-group information (retweeting), and (iii) commenting on the shared information (quote tweeting). We find that the majority of users (60%) do not follow any political elites. Those who do follow in-group elite accounts at much higher rates than out-group accounts (90 versus 10%), share information from in-group elites 13 times more frequently than from out-group elites, and often add negative comments to the shared out-group information. Conservatives are twice as likely as liberals to share in-group versus out-group content. These patterns are robust, emerge across issues and political elites, and exist regardless of users’ ideological extremity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabn9418
JournalScience Advances
Volume8
Issue number39
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Most users do not follow political elites on Twitter; those who do show overwhelming preferences for ideological congruity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this