Is sharing just a function of viewing? : The sharing of political and non-political news on Facebook

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2022
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Trilling, Damian
De Vreese, Claes
Halagiera, Denis
Jakubowski, Jakub
Möller, Judith
Puschmann, Cornelius
Stępińska, Agnieszka
Stier, Sebastian
Vaccari, Cristian
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Journal of Quantitative Description : Digital Media. Department of Communication and Media Research, University of Zurich. 2022, 2, pp. 1-103. eISSN 2673-8813. Available under: doi: 10.51685/jqd.2022.016
Zusammenfassung

How is political news shared online? This fundamental question for political communication research in today’s news ecology is still poorly understood. In particular, very little is known about whether and how news sharing differs from news viewing. Based on a unique dataset of ≈ 870,000 URLs shared ≈ 100 million times on Facebook, grouped by countries, age brackets, and months, we study the correlates of viewing versus sharing of political versus non-political news. We first identify websites that at least occasionally contain news items, and then analyze metrics of the news items published on these websites. We enrich the dataset with natural language processing and super- vised machine learning. We find that political news items are viewed less than non-political news items, but are shared more than one would expect based on their views. Furthermore, the source of a news item and textual features, which are often studied in clickbait research and in commercial A/B testing, matter. Our findings are conditional on age, but are very similar across four different countries (Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Poland). While our research design does not allow for causal claims, our findings suggest that future work is well-advised to both theoretically and methodologically differentiate between factors that may explain (a) viewing versus sharing of news, and (b) political versus non-political news.

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320 Politik
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news sharing, news exposure, social media, Facebook, computational methods
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ISO 690TRILLING, Damian, Juhi KULSHRESTHA, Claes DE VREESE, Denis HALAGIERA, Jakub JAKUBOWSKI, Judith MÖLLER, Cornelius PUSCHMANN, Agnieszka STĘPIŃSKA, Sebastian STIER, Cristian VACCARI, 2022. Is sharing just a function of viewing? : The sharing of political and non-political news on Facebook. In: Journal of Quantitative Description : Digital Media. Department of Communication and Media Research, University of Zurich. 2022, 2, pp. 1-103. eISSN 2673-8813. Available under: doi: 10.51685/jqd.2022.016
BibTex
@article{Trilling2022-07-12shari-58081,
  year={2022},
  doi={10.51685/jqd.2022.016},
  title={Is sharing just a function of viewing? : The sharing of political and non-political news on Facebook},
  volume={2},
  journal={Journal of Quantitative Description : Digital Media},
  pages={1--103},
  author={Trilling, Damian and Kulshrestha, Juhi and De Vreese, Claes and Halagiera, Denis and Jakubowski, Jakub and Möller, Judith and Puschmann, Cornelius and Stępińska, Agnieszka and Stier, Sebastian and Vaccari, Cristian}
}
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