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Social Media Manipulation Can Affect Voter Decision Making (Blog_2)

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6106/472.full

The article, “Social Media Manipulation Can Affect Voter Decision Making”, discusses how manipulating social media can affect the voter’s perception of candidate and compromise the voter’s decision making abilities. The article points out that we have a mental trust network that we refer to help us decide what to believe and what not to believe. It was especially interesting how the article discussed “google bombing” and the recent new trend of “twitter bombing”, which involves creating a large number of twitter accounts and sending a large number of unsolicited tweets to unsuspecting users within a short period of time.

I believe that this article is relevant to the recent class lectures regarding how being in a social network affect your decisions. The prime example is choosing between restaurant A and B, when restaurant A has great reviews but restaurant B has more customers. Between the two categories of rational reasoning, being persuaded by social media such as twitter is more information-based because most people you follow on twitter are not strong social ties; often at times, the person you follow doesn’t know you personally. However, you think that the crowd might know something you don’t. By taking advantage of that idea, twitter bombing then works.  I feel that the mental trust network is only present in social media such as facebook, where you might be likely to like something because your close friends liked it. However, your friend could have fallen victim to twitter bombing, so in a way, there is no escape from the influence of social media if you are a user of common social media mediums. The important part of this possible cascade is that your decision may not be the correct one and can be misled by the influence of past decisions or revealed information.

-VH123

Comments

One Response to “ Social Media Manipulation Can Affect Voter Decision Making (Blog_2) ”

  • MarkWD

    Excellent take on this. It’s important to raise awareness of the influence of social media. It obviously works, just look how much was spent on it at the last election! Why do people take the views of 100 of their “friends” rather than one world renowned expert?

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