Facebook bubbles

FB groups tend to homogenize their memberships.

by Ed Sawicki - March 9, 2020

Facebook bubble

Some Democrats seem to be retreating into the kinds of bubbles we accused Tea Party Republicans of. These bubbles are quite concerning for our future democracy.

A few weeks ago, a Canadian woman was relating her experiences with her national health care in a Facebook group. Her experiences tended to contradict the claims of others who insisted that a Canadian-like health care system is bad. Someone in the thread found out she was Canadian and all hell broke loose. This started an anti-foreigner campaign that reminded me of Trump supporters arguing for his ban on Muslims and other immigrants.

Someone began a new post that targeted her by name, warning everyone that she was not an American, used nasty language to describe her, and said that she lies and is spreading “fake news”. Sometime later, an admin removed her from the group.

So, I was reading posts and nasty comments from a right-wing Republican group, right?

No. It was Democrats doing this. The group is named after a MSNBC personality.

A week ago, someone in another Facebook group named after another MSNBC personality insisted that Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat and should be running as an independent. I asked if he thought this was smart given Sanders's popularity with millions of voters. “Sanders would be the ultimate spoiler”, I argued, “giving the Republicans a crushing victory.”

My logic was lost on him. A group admin jumped in and asked me, “WTF is wrong with you?” Both posted things to prove that Sanders was not a Democrat. I said, “Sanders has always caucused with Democrats.”

That seemed to enrage the admin who repeated her claims that Sanders was not a Democrat. I asked, “So?”

The admin deleted the post and removed me from the group.

These Facebook groups tied to mainstream media are homogenizing their memberships by removing those with rational but opposing viewpoints. Do the media talking heads that these groups are named after take their cues from these groups thus biasing news show content further?

The resulting “bubbles” serve only to further weaken the Democratic Party by disenfranchising voters—especially young voters—who want change.