The Impact of Online Network Diversity on Familiarity and Engagement with Social Issues News on Facebook



social media, race, religion, network diversity, crystallization, news, Facebook, social networks


This study of U.S. adults (N = 296) investigates the relationship between the ethnic and religious diversity of users’ Facebook networks and their familiarity and engagement with news about social issues on that platform— the Black Lives Matter movement, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, and Muslim immigration. The results showed that greater ethnic and religious diversity in a user’s Facebook network predicted greater familiarity and a greater willingness to engage with information about recent social issues, even after controlling for overall network size, political ideology, and the user’s own demographic characteristics. These results suggest that online network diversity is an important consideration when studying contemporary social issues and media effects.


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