Social Media

Study finds surprising source of social influence

A new study co-authored by ASC’s Damon Centola finds that as prominent and revered as social influencers seem to be, they are unlikely to change a person’s behavior by example, and might actually be detrimental to the cause.

From Annenberg School for Communication

Twitter bots may not be as influential as you think

A new study from Annenberg School for Communication finds that verified media accounts are more central in the spread of information on Twitter than bots.

Ashton Yount, From Annenberg School for Communication

In the News

WHYY (Philadelphia)

Facebook calls links to depression inconclusive. These researchers disagree

Melissa Hunt of the School of Arts & Sciences questioned Facebook’s argument that the poor mental health outcomes tied to use of their platform can be mitigated with self-discipline. “All of the things that would contribute to these platforms being healthier for people to use, which is basically spend less time, don't follow strangers, don't spend time passively scrolling through this random feed that's being suggested to you," Hunt says. "That completely undermines their whole business model."



Don’t buy into Facebook’s ad-tracking pressure on iOS 14.5

Ron Berman of the Wharton School spoke about how a new Apple feature that allows users to block apps from tracking their online activities might affect Facebook’s revenues. “There are some types of ads, mostly retargeting, that will be harder to display, since now Facebook wouldn’t know who visited an app, put an item in the shopping cart, etc.,” he said.


NBC News

She called out health care misinfo on TikTok. Then, the trolls found her

Jessa Lingel of the Annenberg School for Communication spoke about the history of callout culture on social media. “Cancel culture, callout culture, that really comes from practices on Black Twitter of bringing attention to an issue and saying, hey, this is a thing where we need to align. Whether it’s #MeToo in its early days, that originated on Black Twitter, or whether that’s tied to Black Lives Matter or police brutality. Callout culture originated on Black Twitter,” she said.


The New York Times

Dark under-eye circles? The kids say it’s cool

Kathy Peiss of the School of Arts & Sciences commented on a viral social media makeup trend that emphasizes dark under-eye circles. “This seems ephemeral, an aesthetic centered on pandemic tiredness, but not much more than that,” she said.


Philadelphia Inquirer

Does Twitter’s ban violate Trump’s free-speech rights? Likely not, but it raises questions about social media platforms, Philly experts say

Diana Mutz of the Annenberg School for Communication and School of Arts & Sciences said social media hasn’t enriched the quality of elected leaders’ communication with the public. “What gains traction on social media is outrageousness,” she said. “It incentivizes precisely what we don’t want in political discourse.”



Facebook keeps data secret, letting conservative bias claims persist

PIK Professor Duncan Watts is working with Facebook to analyze its content for bias. "Mostly it's mainstream content," he said. "If anything, there is a bias in favor of conservative content."