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Does social media really create echo chambers?


Do you think social media creates or operates in echo chambers? If yes, how can we avoid it?

Paul O'Brien Changed status to publish February 21, 2022

I think social media actually only accelerates or expands things that exist in humanity.  Good and bad.  More people have free speech and the means to reach the world (good).  People’s biases or the perpetuation of lies get reflected and impact more (bad).  The challenge in the world today is learning to live with the consequences of social media, in order to reap the benefits.  So, does social media create or operate in echo chambers?  Sort of… it more so takes the echo chambers that people naturally create around themselves, and expands them from a few or dozens, into hundreds or thousands.


We follow our friends, peers, or people who share interests.   Understandably.  There is nothing intrinsically wrong in our doing that nor is social media bad for enabling that; that’s a wonderful thing.

But in doing that, we see more of what we like – what we favor.   Social media’s algorithms and targeting don’t do that, not to begin with, it happens naturally because we’ve all chosen the others that can reach and influence us; so that’s what we tend to see.

Social media doesn’t naturally create echo chambers, we do because of how we use it.

SOME more sophisticated social media sites (like Facebook) do lean in on that more.  They sort from what all those friends like, to show us what is *most* liked… and since what is MORE liked among similar people is likely similar, the echo chamber we created becomes even more focused – driving our perception bias, confirmation bias, and validation of our opinions.

While something like a Facebook is amplifying it, it’s still people and our tendencies causing it.

Want to break it? Follow a ton of people with opposing views.  Social media isn’t going to orient itself to do that for you, it doesn’t exist to force you to consume things with which you disagree; it exists to better connect you with who you like – it’s on us to break the natural outcome of that.

Paul O'Brien Answered question October 13, 2021
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