Social media is polarized, social media is polarized: Towards a new design agenda for mitigating polarization

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • University of Helsinki
  • Syracuse University


Social media platforms have often been described as online spaces supporting political discourse. However, online discussions are often polarized; people tend to commune with those who are ideologically similar to them. The HCI response to this phenomenon has been to purposefully expose people to diverse viewpoints. This common design agenda is supported through analysis of link sharing, yet little attention has been paid to how users discuss these links. Therefore, the common design agenda may not mitigate polarization. We study the emergent discourse in 10 Finnish migration-related Face-book groups and examine how the same links are shared and discussed across anti- and pro-migration camps. Qualitative analysis of the posts and comments revealed that shared media links do not bridge polarized groups with regard to worldviews and opinions. We then demonstrate alternative design opportunities to resolve this issue and begin to develop a new design agenda to mitigate polarization.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems - Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 9 Jun 201813 Jun 2018


ConferenceACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
Abbreviated titleDIS
CountryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Echo chambers, Filter bubble, Polarization, Selective exposure

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