Hostile media bias on social media: Testing the effect of user comments on perceptions of news bias and credibility.

Sherice Gearhart, Alexander Moe, Bingbing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

News outlets use social media, especially Facebook, for content distribution and engagement. This exposes consumers to user comments before reading a news article, creating an environment where audiences judge content prior to reading the story. In response to Perloff's (2015) call for research exploring how social media cultivate hostile media effects, this work examines the effects of viewing comments prior to reading a news story on perceptions of bias and credibility. This application tests across issue topics and is not limited to strong partisans or individuals with high issue involvement to test effects on a broader population. Results show comments under Facebook news teasers influence perceptions of bias and credibility. Specifically, those exposed to congruent opinions reported lower perceptions of bias and higher perceptions credibility than exposed to incongruent opinions. Results extend the hostile media bias theory by focusing on all audiences and prescribes practical im
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-148
JournalHuman Behavior & Emerging Technologies
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

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