Continue reading "Why Twitter Polls Should Have a Warning Label"
“If you want the public’s opinion on anything — what to name your dog, who will win tonight’s game, which election issue people care most about — there’s no better place to get answers than on Twitter.” This is how Twitter introduces its “Twitter Polls” feature. Twitter polls might be useful for entertainment and business, but when it comes to politics, it’s more complicated: Twitter polls are not scientific; they are not systematically conducted and therefore cannot represent public opinion. Yet surprisingly, many individuals – ordinary citizens, public officials and political leaders – treat Twitter polls as valid representation of public opinion. Whether they fail to recognize its unscientific nature or intentionally use it as a pseudo-scientific platform for promoting their views, the result is increased cacophony, misinformation and polarization in social media and beyond. Given these problems, Twitter should update its design by adding an interactive warning