The Internet has expanded the variety and amount of accessible political information. On the positive side, this may create a more pluralistic form of public debate; on the negative side, greater access to information may lead to selective exposure to ideologically supportive channels. The echo chamber effect aroused by this internet occurs online due to a harmonious group of people amalgamating and developing tunnel vision. By visiting an “echo chamber”, people can seek out information that reinforces their existing views, potentially as an unconscious exercise of confirmation bias. This may increase social and political polarisation and extremism.
An echo chamber is a metaphorical description of a situation in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system. There is no doubt in accepting that the political situation of the United States is getting more and more polarised. However, Donghee Jo, an assistant professor of Economics at Northeastern University, is reluctant to admit that social media is the reason people have become more entrenched on the left or right. He asserted that the truth might be just the opposite. Jo and his collaborators dig deep into the reasons behind polarised politics and ascertained ‘modest correlation’ between journalists’ social networks and the ideology of their news content.
The study concluded that the citizens of the United States were more likely to express radical policy views than their counterparts who were stuck in the echo chambers. Jo opined that it is because people are better attuned to the biases in their preferred news sources than to the biases in unfamiliar news sources. Jo says that a liberal person must watch leftist news sources when he or she wants to get the facts as the right-wing news source would weed out the pivotal facts owing to their biasedness.