Dvir-Gvirsman, Shira, Yariv Tsfati, and Ericka Menchen-Trevino. “The Extent and Nature of Ideological Selective Exposure Online: Combining Survey Responses with Actual Web Log Data from the 2013 Israeli Elections.” New Media and Society 18.5 (2016): 857-77.
Do users tend to consume only like-minded political information online? We point to two problems with the existing knowledge about this debate. First, the measurement of media preferences by the typical means of surveys is less reliable than behavioral data. Second, most studies have analyzed only the extent of online exposure to like-minded content, not the users’ complete web-browsing repertoire. This study used both survey data and real-life browsing behavior (661,483 URLs from 15,976 websites visited by 402 participants) for the period 7 weeks prior to the 2013 Israeli national elections. The results indicate that (1) self-report measurements of ideological exposure are inflated, (2) exposure to online ideological content accounted for only 3% of total online browsing, (3) the participants’ media repertoires are very diverse with no evidence of echo chambers, and (4) in accordance with the selective exposure hypothesis, individuals on both sides are more exposed to like-minded content. The results are discussed in light of the selective exposure literature.
This article explores Facebook unfriending during the Israel–Gaza conflict of 2014. We suggest that politically motivated unfriending is a new kind of political gesture. We present an analysis of a survey of 1,013 Jewish Israeli Facebook users. A total of 16% of users unfriended or unfollowed a Facebook friend during the fighting. Unfriending was more prevalent among more ideologically extreme and more politically active Facebook users. Weak ties were most likely to be broken, and respondents mostly unfriended people because they took offense at what they had posted or disagreed with it. Although social network sites may expose people to diverse opinions, precisely by virtue of the many weak ties users have on them, our findings show these ties to be susceptible to dissolution.
Lavi, Iris, Daphna Canetti, Keren Sharvit, Daniel Bar-Tal, and Stevan E. Hobfoll. “Protected by Ethos in a Protracted Conflict? A Comparative Study among Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 58.1 (2014): 68-92.
Can endorsement of the ethos of conflict alter psychological effects of exposure to political violence? Israelis and Palestinians have been in a state of political and military turmoil for decades. We interviewed 781 Israelis and 1,196 Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Using structural equation modeling, we found that among those with a weak adherence to ethos of conflict, exposure predicted higher levels of hatred. For Israelis with a weak adherence to ethos of conflict, exposure predicted higher psychological distress and fear. For Palestinians with weaker adherence to ethos of conflict, stronger exposure predicted stronger threat perceptions. Israelis and Palestinians with a strong adherence to the ethos showed steady and high levels of negative emotions and threat, regardless of exposure. These results indicate that ethos of conflict is a double-edged sword that both protects and protracts the conflict. Although it serves as an engine fueling the conflict, it also plays a meaningful role as an empowering force for people suffering the psychological burden of an ongoing conflict.