Selective Avoidance on Social Media : A Comparative Study of Western Democracies

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Conference

Title114th American Political Science Association Annual Meeting & Exhibition (APSA2018)
PlaceUnited States
CityBoston
Period29 August - 2 September 2008

Abstract

Social media has been blamed for contributing to the increasing level of political polarization across Western democracies. Among other factors, politically motivated unfriending and filtering have been identified as likely contributors to the rising ideological segregation. This study examines the phenomena of political unfriending and content removal on social media in the context of three Western democracies – France, the United Kingdom and the United States. We seek to understand the role of cross-cutting discussion, ideological extremity, confrontational discussion style, and electoral participation in triggering unfriending and content removal on social media, while shedding more light on potential cross-country differences. The findings show that selective avoidance behaviors are much more common in the United States than either in France or the United Kingdom. They also show that cross-cutting discussion and confrontational style are predictors of selective avoidance across all the above countries, while ideological extremity and electoral participation played a role in the United States only. We suggest that while social media provide opportunities for citizens to engage in discussions with people with dissimilar political views and socio-economic backgrounds, they also allow them to easily re-establish more homophilous environments via content removal and tie dissolution.

Research Area(s)

  • social media, Political communication

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Research Unit(s) information for this publication is provided by the author(s) concerned.

Citation Format(s)

Selective Avoidance on Social Media : A Comparative Study of Western Democracies. / Skoric, Marko M; Zhu, Qinfeng; Koc Michalska, Karolina ; Boulianne, Shelley ; Bimber, Bruce.

2018. Paper presented at 114th American Political Science Association Annual Meeting & Exhibition (APSA2018), Boston, United States.

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)