How Some Americans Are Breaking Out of Political Echo Chambers
Jun 14, 2021 2 mins, 4 secs
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She found AllSides, a site founded by former Netscape director John Gable that displays headlines on the same stories from left-, center-, and right-leaning outlets.

They are searching for sites like AllSides; the Flip Side, which summarizes conservative and liberal news on one policy issue each day; and Ground News, which shows how various stories are covered by left, center, and right-leaning outlets.

The majority of US adults say one-sided information on social media is a major problem, though many might mean only information that counters their own beliefs.

Visitors to sites like AllSides seek out views at odds with their own; they enjoy discussing political differences more than the fleeting satisfaction of tribal disputes on Facebook.

Some are troubled by how their friend circles and social media followers mirror their own beliefs.

“The more I looked into things like the Flip Side, the more I could understand her parents’ arguments,” he says.

They’ve resisted his advice to check out sites like the Flip Side.

“I started going down my own path,” she says, searching out the Flip Side and AllSides.

Blair aspires to gymnast-like balance: 50 percent interactions with sources from the left, and 50 percent from the right.

“What’s needed is a way to curate and find the best thinking from left and right,” says Haidt, who created an online library for this purpose with videos, books, and essays.

To better understand perspectives on the left, for example, the library offers sources such as Edmund Fawcett’s essay “Reclaiming Liberalism.” Choose the library door on the right, and you’ll find thought pieces like Yuval Levin’s “A Conservative Governing Vision.” Haidt also reads the Flip Side and AllSides daily.

AllSides has more than 190,000 Instagram followers, while the Flip Side has 250,000 subscribers.

It’s far from clear that they’ll make a difference when social media behemoths create information silos and nudge many toward tribalism and extremism.

Other experiments aim to shift the social media experience away from outrage and virtue signaling.

What if status on social media hinged on traits such as open-mindedness.

As we’ve seen with some social media sites, when groups expand in size, they often lose the intimacy that helped make them enjoyable and constructive.


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