Facebook, Social Media and Political Communication

Room: 
Ferrier Hall
Time Slot: 
Monday 26th March 16:15 - 17:45
Panel Chair: 
  • Professor Ivor Gaber (University of Sussex)
Panel Members: 
  • Ms Sue Greenwood (Staffordshire University)
  • Dr Darren Lilleker (Bournemouth University)
  • Mr Duje Bonacci (University of Zagreb, Center for Croatian Studies)
  • Dr Narisong Huhe (University of Strathclyde)
  • Dr Mark Shephard (University of Strathclyde)
  • Miss Nely Konstantinova (University of Leeds)

 

The four papers in this panel proposal examine key issues around the use of social media for helping to create fora to enable political identity and discussion. Two papers concentrate specifically on the last two UK general elections and the EU referendum, considering the place of Facebook within the public sphere by focusing on whether the social network provided new spaces for political discussion. While many studies have considered Facebook’s contribution to political debate by studying the role of the internet generally or of social media broadly, the first paper focuses on Facebook itself, arguing that the scale, reach and corporate ecology of Facebook necessitates studying it as a political actor in its own right. A second paper explores the dynamics of political discourse during the 2017 UK General Election, and assesses how Facebook comments may reflect underlying trends in the politics of a nation in these politically difficult post-Brexit times. The third paper examines the effects of social media networks on online friendships and mood shifts: using time series data, online social media networks of young people are assessed to consider the impact of networks on young people’s partisan preferences and political attitudes and opinions. The final paper looks at the ways different groups of civil society actors use social media to represent themselves and to develop and negotiate their identities, meanings, motivations, and political subjectivities online vis-à-vis each other, the mainstream media and those in power, in a context defined by growing populist trends worldwide.