It’s no secret that our social media feeds are pretty biased toward our own political leanings. And while we’ve seen a handful of Chrome extensions and other tools that address this issue on Facebook, we haven’t yet seen as many tools made for Twitter. Until now.
Researchers at MIT have created a new Chrome extension that changes your Twitter feed to that of someone with different political views.
Called FlipFeed, the extension infers your political beliefs based on your own feed and then shows you the feed of someone with opposing views.
Created by MIT’s Laboratory for Social Machines, the researchers say the goal of the project is “to explore how social media platforms can be used to mitigate, rather than exacerbate, ideological polarization by helping people explore and empathize with different perspectives.”
Once installed, the extension is fairly straightforward: open Twitter and select “flip my feed” from the left side of the screen underneath your profile. This converts your feed to another users’ (who, presumably, has opposing political views).
The extension appears to generate the feeds, which are those of actual Twitter users, based on the accounts they follow. So, if you follow a lot of “left-leaning” accounts, the extension surfaces the feed of someone who follows “right-leaning” accounts.
In my testing, it took a few tries for it to come up with a feed that looked markedly different from my own, but you can cycle through as many feeds as you want or switch back to your own at any time.
The researchers are not the first to create this type of tool, though it is one of the first we’ve seen that’s aimed at Twitter, rather than Facebook. And while it seems unlikely that such tools will actually be able to sway many opinions, it does offer a fascinating look into how others experience Twitter.