Social Media, Political Polarization, and Political Disinformation: A Review of the Scientific Literature

95 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2018  

Joshua A. Tucker

New York University (NYU)

Andrew Guess

Princeton University

Pablo Barbera

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Cristian Vaccari

University of Bologna - Faculty of Political Science; Royal Holloway University of London

Alexandra Siegel

New York University (NYU), Department of Politics, Students

Sergey Sanovich

New York University (NYU), Department of Politics, Students

Denis Stukal

New York University (NYU), Department of Politics, Students

Brendan Nyhan

Dartmouth College

Date Written: March 19, 2018

Abstract

The following report is intended to provide an overview of the current state of the literature on the relationship between social media; political polarization; and political “disinformation,” a term used to encompass a wide range of types of information about politics found online, including “fake news,” rumors, deliberately factually incorrect information, inadvertently factually incorrect information, politically slanted information, and “hyperpartisan” news. The review of the literature is provided in six separate sections, each of which can be read individually but that cumulatively are intended to provide an overview of what is known—and unknown—about the relationship between social media, political polarization, and disinformation. The report concludes by identifying key gaps in our understanding of these phenomena and the data that are needed to address them.

Keywords: social media, political polarization, disinformation, persuasion, fake news, partisan news, literature review

Suggested Citation

Tucker, Joshua Aaron and Guess, Andrew and Barbera, Pablo and Vaccari, Cristian and Siegel, Alexandra and Sanovich, Sergey and Stukal, Denis and Nyhan, Brendan, Social Media, Political Polarization, and Political Disinformation: A Review of the Scientific Literature (March 19, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3144139 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3144139

Joshua Aaron Tucker (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Andrew Guess

Princeton University

Robertson Hall, 4th Floor
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

Pablo Barbera

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Cristian Vaccari

University of Bologna - Faculty of Political Science ( email )

Via Giacomo della Torre 5
Forli 47100, 40100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.cristianvaccari.it

Royal Holloway University of London ( email )

Department of Politics and International Relations
Royal Holloway, University of London
Egham, Surrey TE20 0EX
United Kingdom

Alexandra Siegel

New York University (NYU), Department of Politics, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Sergey Sanovich

New York University (NYU), Department of Politics, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Denis Stukal

New York University (NYU), Department of Politics, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.denisstukal.com

Brendan Nyhan

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

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