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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