Echo-chambers in online news consumption: Evidence from survey and navigation data in Spain


Work data:

ISSN: 1460-3705

Type of work: Article (academic)


Communication | Politics and Political Science


echo chambers, polarisation


Whether people live in echo-chambers when they consume political information online has been the subject of much academic and public debate. This article contributes to this debate combining survey and web-tracking online data from Spain, a country known for its high political parallelism. We find that users spend more time in outlets of their political leanings but, generally, they engage in considerable cross-partisan media exposure, especially those in the left. In addition, we use a quasi experiment to test how major news events affect regular patterns of news consumption, and particularly, selective exposure. We find that the nature of news explains changes in users’ overall consumption behaviour, but this has less to do with the type of event than with the interest it arouses. More importantly, we find that users become more polarized along party lines as the level of news consumption and interest for news increases.