Original Study

| Published: December 28, 2021

Head is where the Herd is: Effect of Social Conformity on Islamophobia on Facebook

Simran Gill

TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra Google Scholar More about the auther

, Itisha Nagar

TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra Google Scholar More about the auther


DOI: 10.25215/0904.142


With the advent of the Internet, social media has become one of the primary sources through which people get access to news and form opinions. However, this presents a problem as not all news on social media is verified and is often fake news. The purpose of the study is to explore the role social conformity plays in how people respond to fake news. In the study, participants read a fake Islamophobic news story posted on Facebook and were randomly assigned into two groups. In the Islamophobic condition, respondents read prejudiced comments whereas in the non-Islamophobic condition, they read comments which identified that the story was fake and criticized the post for being prejudiced. The participants then filled out a survey that assessed their attitudes, feelings and behaviours towards the Muslim community. The results revealed that the group exposed to the Islamophobic comments not only had significantly more negative attitudes and feelings towards Muslims but were also significantly more likely to share the fake news story and post Islamophobic comments as compared to the group exposed to non-Islamophobic comments. Thus, findings of the study suggest that exposure to prejudiced information in online spaces has the potential to influence our attitudes.

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ISSN 2348-5396

ISSN 2349-3429


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Published in   Volume 09, Issue 4, October- December, 2021