Exploring the Impact of Social and Source Cues on News Selection

The current reality in Nigeria is that media houses choose news and the way events are covered based on their ideological or political leanings. At the same time, audience members appear to also choose news contents that reinforce their pre-existing perceptions or views while avoiding those that go against these views. Based on Sears and Freedman’s (1967) review of selective exposure or information utility, this experimental study set out to examine the possible influence of online news social endorsements on news selectivity in Nigeria. Findings reveal that the selective choices news consumers make with regard to consuming and disseminating news on the Internet are significantly influenced by online social endorsements such as Likes and recommendations. Findings also show that the effect of social endorsement is stronger among partisan respondents selecting articles from an ideologically misaligned source and that the presence of social endorsements significantly reduce partisan selectivity.