By analyzing the Facebook posts and users activities, a peer reviewed investigation shows multiple findings, many of those can describe our social media behaviors significantly.
- Users interact with like-minded people sharing the same system of beliefs.
- Users are extremely focused and self-contained on their specific narrative.
- Users not only tend to be very polarized, but they also tend to be
linked to users with similar preferences.
- Users prominently interacting with alternative information sources – i.e. more exposed to unsubstantiated claims – are more prone to interact with intentional and parodistic false claims. Thereafter, conspiracy users are more likely to jump the credulity barrier: even when information is deliberately false and framed with a satirical purpose.
- Scientific minded users are the biggest consumer of debunking posts (where wrong concepts are falsified or disproved). Interestingly, only a few conspiracy minded users usually active in those posts and interact with debunking information and, in the latter case, their activity in the conspiracy increases after the interaction, rather than decreasing. Therefore, debunking attempts are acting as a backfire effect.
- The sentiment of users on science and conspiracy pages tends
to be negative, and is more and more negative when the discussion becomes longer or users’ activity on the social network increase. In particular, the discussion degenerates when the two polarized communities interact with one another.