While this shouldn’t come as quite a shock, a new report from Pew Research does shed light on why, perhaps, American politics seem so overtly divisive online. The research organization crunched some numbers about members of Congress on Facebook and found that politicians who were more ideologically extreme had bigger Facebook followings than those who were more moderate.
“The most liberal and most conservative House members had a median of 14,361 followers as of July 25, compared with 9,017 followers for those in the middle of the ideological spectrum,” writes Pew in its new report. It was the same for the Senate: Those more toward the left or the right had a median of 78,360 followers, while moderates had 32,626.
So if you are noticing more extreme political voices in your Facebook feed, it’s because those are the accounts with the biggest audience. And, when you think about it, being moderate isn’t the most sexy thing, so it’s probably more interesting to follow the wilder politicians out there.