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Hostile emotions in news comments: A cross-national analysis of Facebook discussions


Humprecht, Edda; Hellmüller, Lea; Lischka, Juliane A (2020). Hostile emotions in news comments: A cross-national analysis of Facebook discussions. Social Media and Society:1-12.

Abstract

Recent work demonstrates that hostile emotions can contribute to a strong polarization of political discussion on social media. However, little is known regarding the extent to which media organizations and media systems trigger hostile emotions. We content-analyzed comments on Facebook pages from six news organizations (N=1,800) based in the United States and Germany. Our results indicate that German news organizations’ Facebook comments are more balanced, containing lower levels of hostile emotions. Such emotions are particularly prevalent in the polarized information environment of the United States—in both news posts and comments. Moreover, alternative right-wing media outlets in both countries provoke significantly higher levels of hostile emotions, thus limiting deliberative discussions. Our results demonstrate that the application of technology—such as the use of comment sections—has different implications depending on cultural and social contexts.

Abstract

Recent work demonstrates that hostile emotions can contribute to a strong polarization of political discussion on social media. However, little is known regarding the extent to which media organizations and media systems trigger hostile emotions. We content-analyzed comments on Facebook pages from six news organizations (N=1,800) based in the United States and Germany. Our results indicate that German news organizations’ Facebook comments are more balanced, containing lower levels of hostile emotions. Such emotions are particularly prevalent in the polarized information environment of the United States—in both news posts and comments. Moreover, alternative right-wing media outlets in both countries provoke significantly higher levels of hostile emotions, thus limiting deliberative discussions. Our results demonstrate that the application of technology—such as the use of comment sections—has different implications depending on cultural and social contexts.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Cultural Studies
Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Physical Sciences > Computer Science Applications
Uncontrolled Keywords:hostile emotions, partisan hostility, political news, social media, user comments, comparative research
Language:English
Date:20 March 2020
Deposited On:01 Apr 2020 10:40
Last Modified:27 Nov 2020 07:33
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:2056-3051
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305120912481

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