News We Like to Share: How News Sharing on Social Networks Influences Voting Outcomes
48 Pages Posted: 24 May 2017 Last revised: 14 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 13, 2019
More voters than ever get political news from their friends on social media platforms. Is this bad for democracy? Using context-neutral laboratory experiments, we find that biased (mis)information shared on social networks affects the quality of collective decisions relatively more than does segregation by political preferences on social media. Two features of subject behavior underlie this finding: 1) they share news signals selectively, revealing signals favorable to their candidates more often than unfavorable signals; 2) they naively take signals at face value and account for neither the selection in the shared signals nor the differential informativeness of news signals across different sources.
Keywords: News Sharing, Social Networks, Voting, Media Bias, Fake News, Polarization, Filter Bubble, Lab Experiments
JEL Classification: C72, C91, C92, D72, D83, D85
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