“Choosing to Avoid? A Conjoint Experimental Study to Understand Selective Exposure and Avoidance on Social Media." Political Communication, 2020. 

Subhayan Mukerjee, Tian Yang

Social media platforms provide multiple affordances, which convey several cues to guide users in making decisions about which news to consume. Traditional factorial designs have failed to experimentally study the effects of multiple, simultaneous cues operating on social media. As a result, there is little consensus in the literature about their exact effects on news choice. In this study, we use a conjoint experimental design to examine how source outlet cues, message cues, and social endorsement cues shape news selectivity on Facebook. We find that people significantly avoid news items with out-party outlet and message cues. We also find that people select news based only on in-party messages cues, but this effect is smaller than the avoidance of out-party cues. Only strong partisans demonstrate a preference for news items with in-party source and message cues. Finally, we find no evidence that social endorsement affects people’s news selection behavior.