Right-wing tweets receive higher exposure - Twitter study

"Algorithmic amplification is not problematic by default - algorithmic amplification is problematic if there is preferential treatment," Twitter stated.

TWITTER’S LOGO is seen on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week. (photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)
TWITTER’S LOGO is seen on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week.
(photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)

Tweets that express right-wing political views, from both elected officials and news outlets, receive higher exposure on Twitter, according to a recent company study analyzing the effects of the social media giant's algorithm. 

Researchers examined tweets from seven countries - Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States - between April and August of last year. With the exception of Germany, the study concluded that right-wing parties, politicians, news outlets and political commentators have received more traction on the website than that of left-wing tweets.

The study reports that Twitter's algorithm overall prefers tweets with a right-wing political affiliation. Additionally, tweets about political content from elected officials received more exposure than those from non-elected officials.

"Establishing why these observed patterns occur is a significantly more difficult question to answer as it is a product of the interactions between people and the platform," the company stated. 

Importantly, "algorithmic amplification is not problematic by default – all algorithms amplify. Algorithmic amplification is problematic if there is preferential treatment as a function of how the algorithm is constructed versus the interactions people have with it," Twitter noted. 

3D-PRINTED BALLOT BOXES are seen in front of Facebook and Twitter logos. (credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)3D-PRINTED BALLOT BOXES are seen in front of Facebook and Twitter logos. (credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)

Twitter has faced various accusations from many people across the spectrum of politics that the social media site may be politically biased. 

Earlier this month, Twitter received a spike in the number of users that were on the site during the shutdown of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, according to The Washington Post

The official Twitter account posted humorously in response to this incident with "hello everyone."