The Politics of Personalized News Aggregation

24 Oct 2019  ·  Lin Hu, Anqi Li, Ilya Segal ·

We study how personalized news aggregation for rational inattentive voters (NARI) affects policy polarization and public opinion. In a two-candidate electoral competition game, an attention-maximizing infomediary aggregates information about candidates' valence into news. Voters decide whether to consume news, trading off the expected gain from improved expressive voting against the attention cost. NARI generates policy polarization even if candidates are office-motivated. Personalized news serves extreme voters with skewed signals and makes them the disciplining entities of policy polarization. Analysis of disciplining voters' identities and policy latitudes yields insights into the political effects of recent regulatory proposals to tame tech giants.

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