Skipping politics: Measuring avoidance of political content in social media

Leticia Bode, Emily K. Vraga, Sonya Troller-Renfree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Selective exposure is a growing concern as people become more reliant on social media for political information. While self-reports often ask about exposure to political content on social media, existing research does not account for the fact that even those exposed to political content may still choose to ignore it. To effectively account for this, we employ corneal eye tracking software, such that we can observe users’ gaze and the amount of time they actually spend with political content. Consistent with expectations, the earlier a cue that a post is political, the faster a user skips over it. This trend is concentrated among those least interested in politics. Implications for how we think about social media and political information flows in the modern media environment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalResearch and Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the George Mason University Office of Research and Economic Development.

Funding Information:
This publication was made possible (in part) by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.


  • Eye tracking
  • Political information
  • Selective avoidance
  • Selective exposure
  • Social media


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