Facebook is Making Politics More Polarized

As the 2016 presidential campaign kicks into high gear, politically charged posts are probably flooding your Facebook feed. 

As you engage with candidates and ideas you like, while hiding those you don't, Facebook's algorithm makes sure you see more things you want to. That means you'll see fewer posts about opposing or contrary ideas. If you're a Democrat, you're probably not going to see things about Republicans and vice-versa.

The New York Times says that is leading to increased polarization online.

“The fundamental principle underpinning newsfeed is the more you interact with specific types of content and content from specific places, the more likely you are to continue to see” that kind of content, said Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook.

For example, users who “like” Mrs. Clinton’s page will be presented with more posts about the candidate, most likely generating more “likes” on posts and pictures and the chance to comment on new campaign memes. Conversely, these users would probably not also “like,” say, a Senator Ted Cruz page. Facebook’s algorithm would recognize that, and rank content regarding Mrs. Clinton higher on those users’ sites than content about Mr. Cruz.