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Research Talk by Robert Meyer, University of Pennsylvania (US)

Robert Meyer from the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­vania presented his work in progress on how news gets distorted on social media. The ques­tion of what happens to the fide­lity of news when it is retold has lately drawn increased atten­tion because of the rise of social media, where news – be it about poli­tics or products – often takes the form of second- or thir­d-hand retel­lings of the original article. Robert’s rese­arch shows that when news events are succes­si­vely re-sum­ma­rized they are not prone to exag­ge­ra­tion or fabri­ca­tion of facts, but instead there is a unique pattern of distor­tion that he refers to as disagree­able perso­na­liza­tion: highly subjec­tive, perso­na­lized inter­pre­ta­tions of news that are laced with nega­tively slanted expres­sions of opinion. As the summa­ries become incre­a­singly hete­ro­ge­neous and opinio­nated, they are also perceived by outside judges as incre­a­singly less appea­ling to read. Hence, rather than wide­ning inte­rest in the original topic, the process of retel­ling ulti­mately limits it.

We thank Robert for his visit, and the inspi­ring talk and discus­sions. For infor­ma­tion on the upco­ming guest spea­kers, please check the agenda.



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