Getting political on social network sites: Exploring online political discourse on Facebook

Kushin, Matthew J.; Kitchener, Kelin
First Monday

This study explores use of the social network site Facebook for online political discussion. Online political discussion has been criticized for isolating disagreeing persons from engaging in discussion and for having an atmosphere of uncivil discussion behavior. Analysis reveals the participation of disagreeing parties within the discussion with the large majority of posters (73 percent) expressing support for the stated position of the Facebook group, and a minority of posters (17 percent) expressing opposition to the position of the group. Despite the presence of uncivil discussion posting within the Facebook group, the large majority of discussion participation (75 percent) is devoid of flaming. Results of this study provide important groundwork and raise new questions for study of online political discussion as it occurs in the emergent Internet technologies of social network sites.