Likes and Shares teach Users of Social Media Platforms to Express More Outrage

The new study from Yale University says that users express outrage effectively on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as the features of ‘likes’ and ‘share’ reward the users for their content and engage more and more audience. Liking and sharing tend to teach the user to post the content to pursue similar material.

Researchers of Yale University analyzed the tweets from 7,000 individuals and witnessed the change in outrage over the years. The study focuses on the moral outrage among people and sees how controversial events occur.

Paper author and psychologist Molly Crockett says that

“Moral outrage brings social and political change, affecting the social media business accordingly, the tech companies engage users and hold the capability to mold the success and failure through their designs of the platform.”

Not limiting, such outrages on social media platforms can influence the reactions and opinions of people about the happenings in society. They are changing the political conversations online.

The experiment to note how the expression of moral outrage teaches the user the design of the platform. It involved 240 volunteers. Outrage can be both positive as well as negative, for example, a good one would include standing against social or political evil and a bad one would include bullying, elevating polarization among political groups, and spreading fake news.

After tracking 12 million tweets from almost 7,331 Twitter users, a machine learning model was brought up by the researchers. The ultimate conclusion of the study was that more likes and retweets increase the amount of outrage in the next post.

The rewards on the social media platforms create feedback loops that increase the outrage expressions and radicalize political groups.

Professor Crockett explained, 

“Our studies find that people with politically moderate friends and followers are more sensitive to social feedback that reinforces their outrage expressions. This suggests a mechanism for how moderate groups can become politically radicalised over time – the rewards of social media create positive feedback loops that exacerbate outrage.”



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