London: While using Facebook do you tend to seek people or groups that match your opinions? If so, you may tend to become isolated and more narrow-minded, a study has revealed.
With most people seeking out only the news and views that tally with their own opinions, the social media networking site may be inadvertently helping people to stick to and strengthen their belief, creating an "echo chamber" where controversial theories, biased views and selective news are often repeated, unchallenged and accepted as fact.
"So instead of sharing to challenge or inform, social media users are more likely to share an idea already commonly accepted in their social groups for the purpose of reinforcement or agreement," CNN reported on Monday, quoting Alessandro Bessi of University of Southern California.
This leads to the misinformation or fake news to spread unchecked.
"Indeed, we found that conspiracy-like claims spread only inside the echo chambers of users that usually support alternative sources of information and distrust official and mainstream news," Bessi added.
The study found that anything that conforms to our ideas, we tend to like and share it, leading to reckless sharing sometimes as we share something without really examining the content.
This may explain how certain phenomena, leads to proliferation of biased narratives fomented by unsubstantiated rumours, mistrust, and paranoia, researchers noted.
The problem of unreliable information going "viral" online had become so serious it was classed of one of the biggest social threats by the World Economic Forum, the researchers stated, in the paper published in the journal PNAS.