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Social Networks in News Outlets

Recently, I came across this website created by Wall Street Journal which separates Facebook news posts into a “red” feed and a “blue” feed. The red feed is a set of articles whose viewers described themselves as conservative while the blue feed is a set of articles whose viewers described themselves as liberal. Wall Street Journal created this project in order clearly show how conservative and liberal citizens react to social media.

Navigating through this site, you will notice that almost none of these news sources or articles ever overlap between both the red and blue feeds. This is shows a natural balanced graph since you can easily split news sources into two sets A and B. Set A would consist of all liberal viewpoints and set B would consist of all conservative viewpoints. All the news sources from set A would have contrasting viewpoints compared to all the news sources from set B. We can also see that individuals have almost no overlap either. From the way that this model was created, it is very likely that individuals do not overlap in terms of political leanings as well. Therefore, individuals are part of a natural balanced graph as well split into two groups supporting liberal and conservative leanings.

As we look through news posts it is very important to look at both sides of an issue before making a decision. However, based on this project, it is apparent that most individuals only stick to one side over another. When reading news, individuals should create more of an unbalanced graph where individuals are the nodes and the edges represent whether individuals’ viewpoints contrast or resemble one another. An unbalanced graph would indicate that individuals are interacting positively with individuals of the opposite political leaning. This would also mean that individuals could obtain a more diverse opinion while taking multiple viewpoints into consideration.

When we read through the news, it is important to be open to other viewpoints and individuals. This way we can obtain better information regarding the topic.


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