The extensive use of social media has sparked a controversial debate regarding interactions on social media platforms and their influence on network polarization. Still, the complex phenomenon lacks conceptual clarity. Conducting a systematic literature review on existing empirical findings, we take first steps to a more systematic conceptualization of polarization by identifying (a) the dimensions on which polarization is manifesting and (b) relevant influence factors associated with the emergence of polarization phenomena in online social networks. Further, we derive an integrated theory-driven framework offering a comprehensive set of mechanisms associated with polarization on social media and its concrete manifestation. We identified Attitude Extremity, Topic Diversity, Social Fragmentation, and Language Usage as four dimensions of how polarization is manifesting. The framework is a relevant starting point to attain coherence in future research on polarization phenomena in IS research and contributes to a more systematic discussion of unintended consequences of ICT usage.
Tölle, Laura and Trier, Matthias, "Polarization in Online Social Networks: A Review of Mechanisms and Dimensions" (2023). ECIS 2023 Research Papers. 237.