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Illustration of Capitol Hill with Twitter birds flying out

Twitter has become a dominant platform for political communication in the U.S. How has the medium shaped the message? By applying a validated artificial intelligence classifier to all 1.3 million tweets made by members of Congress since 2009, scholars including Stanford sociologist Robb Willer and Stanford HAI junior faculty member Johannes Eichstaedt find that the levels of incivility have risen on Twitter over the past decade. Their analyses suggest that this increase was partly driven by reinforcement learning in which politicians engaged in greater incivility following positive feedback. The more negative their tweets, the more likes and retweets they would receive. But interestingly, the scholars found these mean tweets aren't always as well liked as metrics indicate.

You can read the full study here

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