A new study shows that Facebook encourages users to look for information which confirms their beliefs, and to ignore conflicting evidence.
The study, The spreading of misinformation online, found that the availability of user-provided content in social media facilitates the aggregation of people around common interests and narratives.
“However, the Web also allows for the rapid dissemination of unsubstantiated rumours and conspiracy theories that often elicit rapid, large, but naive social responses,” the study said.
It was also found that consumers of scientific and conspiracy stories on Facebook present similar consumption patterns with respect to content.
“Homogeneity appears to be the primary driver for the diffusion of contents, and each echo chamber has its own cascade dynamics.”
In summary, the study found that Facebook is a place where like-minded people form small communities, and conspiracy theories and other baseless information is easily spread.