Using Twitter to debate may be responsible for a drop in the quality of public discourse, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that Twitter use among students correlated with a drop in test results of between 25 to 40 per cent.
Experts say that the drop was most noticeable among higher-achieving students, and that the use of social networking sites had impaired their performance.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said last year that his firm is responsible for 'building a systemic framework to help encourage more healthy debate, conversations, and critical thinking.'
But the finding may confirm what many people have already claimed - that social media is not the best place for a well-informed discussion.
Researchers from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan studied the performance of around 1,500 students attending 70 Italian high schools during the 2016 to 2018 academic year.
They were given a novel written in 1904 by Italian Nobel laureate Luigi Pirandello to study.
The text - The Late Mattia Pascal - satirises issues of self-knowledge and self-destruction.
Half of the students were encouraged to discuss and analyse the text on Twitter, with lecturers adding their own responses to enliven the debate.
The remaining 50 per cent used more traditional classroom-based seminars to pour over the work.
Those who used Twitter suffered the drop in performance when it came time for tests.
'It's quite detrimental,' said the university's economic policy professor Gian Paolo Barbetta, in an interview with The Washington Post (WP).
'I can't say whether something is changing in the mind, but I can say that something is definitely changing in the behaviour and the performance.''
Read more: Is Twitter making you 'stupid'? Italian scientists find the performance of students who use the site to study drops by up to 40%
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