Study: Algorithmic Amplification of Politics on Twitter
Year of production: 2021
The authors of the study summarise: “Content on Twitter’s home timeline is selected and ordered by personalization algorithms. By consistently ranking certain content higher, these algorithms may amplify some messages while reducing the visibility of others. There’s been intense public and scholarly debate about the possibility that some political groups benefit more from algorithmic amplification than others.” In this large scale study, authors present two sets of findings.
“First, we studied Tweets by elected legislators from major political parties in 7 countries. Our results reveal a remarkably consistent trend: In 6 out of 7 countries studied, the mainstream political right enjoys higher algorithmic amplification than the mainstream political left. Consistent with this overall trend, our second set of findings studying the U.S. media landscape revealed that algorithmic amplification favours right-leaning news sources,” authors say in the abstract of the study. The authors further looked at whether algorithms amplify far- left and far-right political groups more than moderate ones amd contrary to prevailing public belief, they did not find evidence to support this hypothesis.
The authors’ aim is to contribute to an evidence-based debate on the role personalisation algorithms play in shaping political content consumption.