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September 6, 2012

Social Media Sites Have Little Influence on Political Views

Few social media users are influenced by political content that they encounter on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, a study suggests.

Only 16 percent of respondents said their views about a political issue had changed after discussing it or reading posts about it on a social networking site, the Pew Internet & American Life Project survey found.

The study, released Tuesday (Sept. 4/12), found liberals (24 percent) were more likely to change their views than those who identified as moderates (18 percent) or conservatives (11 percent).

Social media also had little impact on users’ political actions. Only 25 percent of survey respondents reported becoming more involved in a political issue after discussing it or reading about it on a social networking site. Nine percent reported becoming less involved as a result.

A Pew report released in March found that just 18 percent of social network users have taken some kind of step to ignore users whose political views differed from theirs.

The Survey Says:

* Black social media users are more likely than white or Hispanic users to classify such sites as “at least somewhat important” for political news and activities.

* 18 to 29 year olds are more likely than other age groups to classify social media as an important political tool.

* Those who talk about politics often are more apt to post about politics on social networking sites.