What makes something go viral online? A lot of work has highlighted the role of emotion: social media posts that express strong emotions — and particularly negative emotions — tend to spread further.
Now a studyhas identified another factor which seems to have an even greater effect on how often posts are shared. The team finds that tweets and Facebook posts that contain more language referring to political opponents get more shares. These posts may be so popular, they suggest, because they appeal to feelings of anger and outrage towards the political out-group. Continue reading →