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Accidental exposure to politics on social media as online participation equalizer in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom

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journal contribution
posted on 25.01.2018, 11:32 by Augusto Valeriani, Cristian Vaccari
We assess whether and how accidental exposure to political information on social media contributes to citizens’ online political participation in comparative perspective. Based on three online surveys of samples representative of German, Italian, and British Internet users in the aftermath of the 2014 European Parliament elections, we find that accidental exposure to political information on social media is positively and significantly correlated with online participation in all three countries, particularly so in Germany where overall levels of participation were lower. We also find that interest in politics moderates this relationship so that the correlation is stronger among the less interested than among the highly interested. These findings suggest that inadvertent encounters with political content on social media are likely to reduce the gap in online engagement between citizens with high and low interest in politics, potentially broadening the range of voices that make themselves heard.

Funding

This work was supported by the Italian Ministry of Education “Future in Research 2012” initiative (project code RBFR12BKZH) for the project titled “Building Inclusive Societies and a Global Europe Online: Political Information and Participation on Social Media in Comparative Perspective” (http://www.webpoleu.net).

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

New Media and Society

Volume

18

Issue

9

Pages

1857 - 1874

Citation

VALERIANI, A. and VACCARI, C., 2016. Accidental exposure to politics on social media as online participation equalizer in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. New Media and Society, 18 (9), pp. 1857-1874.

Publisher

Sage © The Author(s)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

01/06/2015

Publication date

2015-11-18

Notes

Copyright © 2015 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. The definitive published version of this paper is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444815616223.

ISSN

1461-4448

eISSN

1461-7315

Language

en

Exports