Analysis of Facebook Meme Groups Used During the 2016 US Presidential Election

Moody-Ramirez, Mia; Church, Andrew B
Social Media + Society

Using content analysis, this study examines how citizens may use memes to share grassroots political ideas in a social media group setting during elections. Specifically, it offers a glimpse at the types of meme-related Facebook pages that emerged during the 2016 presidential election with an emphasis on representations of the two front-runner candidates—Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Generally, Facebook-meme pages and profile photos of both candidates were negative in tone with Trump more likely to be framed in terms of his hairstyle and facial expressions and Clinton in terms of the email scandal and her relationships with people. Political party and gender differences between these two candidates contributed to variations in representations. Study findings are important as they offer a look at grassroots use of memes during a major election and provide a general overview of Facebook user depictions of the two politicians.