APARC Research - New Media and Political Economy

Mobile phone, held in hands, taking a photo of a street with crowds carrying flags.

New Media and Political Economy

Social media, public opinion, and ideological polarization

Online identity and political fragmentation

Do the internet and new media threaten democratic deliberation and drive political division?

Research Focus

The internet and social media have spurred the creation of new media sources and have diversified the ways in which news is disseminated. In many societies the rise of new media has been accompanied by the proliferation of news with varying degrees of factual evidence. At the same time, there is increasing concern that societies have become more politically polarized. Some experts argue that social media may have a role in that trend and point, in part, to the echo chamber effect, whereby people receive selective news and stories from like-minded individuals.

The New Media and Political Economy project examines whether and how new media affects public opinion and the policymaking process.

Individuals differ in their degree of trust in news and new media platforms as well as in the degree to which they revise their beliefs when presented with new information. This research examines whether people who use social media as their main source of news are more or less likely to revise their beliefs. In addition, the project analyzes how ideological polarization and protest participation relate to social media use. The patterns that emerge help shed light on the role that social media may play in modern democracies.

Lead Researcher


Yong Suk Lee

Shorenstein APARC Korea Program Deputy Director

Yong Suk Lee

Shorenstein APARC Korea Program Deputy Director
SK Center Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies



Social Media and Rigid Beliefs: Evidence from Impeachment of a President
Working paper, Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development, August 2018