A new study from Italy finds that social networking sites like Facebook have a negative impact on individuals’ mental well-being, as well as their levels of social trust, because of their exposure to hate speech and other offensive content.
The researchers note that “there is a tendency for people to assume that their own opinions, beliefs, preferences, values, and habits are ‘normal’ and that others also think the same way that they do.”
In online networks, however, exposure to a greater diversity of ideas may cause individuals to realize they are “surrounded with preference types they dislike (e.g. a racist person may find out that most people appreciate ethnic diversity, or vise versa).”
The study notes that the high risk of being targeted with offensive behaviors and hate speech is “particularly significant for women and users belonging to minorities or discriminated groups.”
Read the full article at Think Progress →