Partisan Provocation: The Role of Partisan News Use and Emotional Responses in Political Information Sharing in Social Media

Hasell, A.; Weeks, Brian E.
Human Communication Research

Citizens increasingly rely on social media to consume and disseminate news and information about politics, but the factors that drive political information sharing on these sites are not well understood. This study focused on how online partisan news use influences political information sharing in part because of the distinct negative emotions it arouses in its audience. Using panel survey data collected during the 2012 U.S. presidential election, we found that use of proattitudinal partisan news online is associated with increased anger, but not anxiety, directed at the opposing party’s presidential candidate and that anger subsequently facilitated information sharing about the election on social media. The results suggest partisan media may drive online information sharing by generating anger in its audience.