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Information Cascades in Social Media

Article Link: https://thepavlovictoday.com/afterimage-review/analysis-senate-intelligence-hearing-on-fake-news-free-speech-and-russia/

This article discusses how social media like Facebook and Twitter chooses what content to show their users and how information cascades relates to this. The article first explains what information cascades is – people making decisions based partly on what the people around them did in the same situation. People are more likely to make the same decision as the people around them if they have closer bonds. Thus, the article concludes, information spreads quickly through groups of people with close bonds but not across them. Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter, whose goal is to make money by keeping people on their sites for as long as possible, will only show users things they want to see. For example, if Facebook thinks it’s likely that a user is a Democrat, they will only show political posts from other friends who are Democrats. This causes an information cascade as users are never shown views different from their own, which further divides and isolates different online groups from one another.

This article relates to the course material because it discusses a real-world problem which can be explained with information cascades. The explanation and observations of information cascades made by the article were all things we learned in class.

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