Political social media posts are more likely to go viral if they criticize an opponent rather than supporting a colleague or a point of view on their political side, a study suggested.

The researchers studied nearly three million tweets and Facebook posts from American media and politicians and found that these mocking rivals received twice as many shares as those who supported a person or point of view on their own side. political division.

The results of the Cambridge University study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also show that posts about political opponents on Facebook attracted more than twice as many face emojis. angry than heart emojis collected from positive posts.

Steve Rathje, Gates Cambridge scholar and study author, said: “Slamming political opposition was the most powerful predictor of a viral post among any we measured. This was the case for the media and the Republican and Democratic-leaning politicians on Facebook and Twitter.

“Social media allows us to stay engaged as much as possible to sell advertising. This business model has ended up rewarding politicians and media companies for producing divisive content in which they look at perceived enemies.

“Our research suggests that hate outside of the party is much better for capturing our attention online than love in the party. This can fuel a dangerous political climate. “