New Delhi: Social networking sites like Facebook may boost our political leanings and cause us to ignore friends we don't agree with, according to a new study.
The study by Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that people who think the majority of their friends have differing opinions than their own engage less on Facebook.
For those who choose to stay logged in and politically active, the research found that most tend to stick in their own circles, ignore those on the other side and become more polarised.
The study also suggests a few design changes that could allow the social media platform to bridge these political differences.
By displaying shared interests between friends during their prickly conversations, Facebook could help diffuse possible arguments and alleviate tension, researchers said.
The study also notes that increasing exposure and engagement to weak ties could make people more resilient in the face of political disagreement.
"People are mainly friends with those who share similar values and interests. They tend to interact with them the most, a phenomenon called homophily," said Catherine Grevet, who led the study.
"But that means they rarely interact with the few friends with differing opinions. As a result, they aren't exposed to opposing viewpoints," said Greve.