How Many People Live in Politically Partisan Online News Echo Chambers in Different Countries?
Keywords:echo chambers, selective exposure, algorithmic selection, news audiences, polarization
Concern over online news echo chambers has been a consistent theme in recent debates on how people get news and information. Yet, we lack a basic descriptive understanding of how many people occupy bounded online news spaces in different countries. Using online survey data from seven countries we find that (i) politically partisan left-right online news echo chambers are real, but only a minority of approximately 5% of internet news users inhabit them, (ii) in every country covered, more people consume no online news at all than occupy partisan online echo chambers, and (iii) except for the US, decisions over the inclusion or exclusion of particular news outlets make little difference to echo chamber estimates. Differences within and between media systems mean we should be very cautious about direct comparisons between different echo chambers, but underlying patterns of audience overlap, and the continued popularity of mainstream outlets, often preclude the formation of large partisan echo chambers.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Richard Fletcher, Craig T. Robertson, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
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