Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Political behaviour and the acoustics of social media

Social networks are not a new phenomenon — people have always associated with like-minded others — but the advent of social media has led to a vast increase in the amount of social information that we see. We need data and experiments to understand how this information shapes our political landscape.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Feldman, D. Election day dominated Facebook with over 716M election-related interactions. Forbes (2016).

  2. Margetts, H., John, P., Hale, S. & Yasseri, T. Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action (Princeton Univ. Press, 2016).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Hogan, B. How Facebook divides us. The Times Literary Supplement (27 October 2016).

  4. Fletcher, R. & Nielsen, R. K. Is social media use associated with more or less diverse news use? rasmuskleisnielsen.net (2016).

  5. Bakshy, E., Messing, S. & Adamic, L. A. Science 348, 1130–1132 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Salganik, M. J., Dodds, P. S. & Watts, D. J. Science 311, 854–856 (2006).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Bond, R. M. et al. Nature 489, 295–298 (2012).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Kramer, A. D. I., Guillory, J. E. & Hancock, J. T. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 111, 8788–8790 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Howard, P. N. Facebook and Twitter's real sin goes beyond spreading fake news. Reuters (2016).

  10. Watts, D. J. Nat. Hum. Behav. 1, 0015 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Helen Margetts.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Margetts, H. Political behaviour and the acoustics of social media. Nat Hum Behav 1, 0086 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing