Dunking on Political Rivals Hugely Boosts Chance of Going Viral: Study

  • Congress members who hurl insults at opponents online get better engagement, a study shows.
  • Cambridge and NYU studied 2.7 million tweets and Facebook posts from Congress.
  • Mentioning “Leftist’ or “Biden” increased the odds of posts being shared by 67%, for example. 
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Hurling insults across the aisle on Capitol Hill may not lead to legislative results but it helps politicians stand out on social media, new research suggests. 

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and New York University studied more than 2.7 million Twitter and Facebook posts from members of congress.

They found that posts mentioning political opponents — an “out-group” — led to higher engagement. 

Posting about political opponents was the biggest “virality” driver, said Steve…

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