A wall of incivility? Public discourse and immigration in the 2016 U.S. Primaries

Rossini, P. , Sturm-Wikerson, H. and Johnson, T. J. (2021) A wall of incivility? Public discourse and immigration in the 2016 U.S. Primaries. Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 18(3), pp. 243-257. (doi: 10.1080/19331681.2020.1858218)

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This study uses computational methods to investigate public incivility in Facebook comments to campaign messages during the primaries of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, focusing on candidates’ posts about immigration. Specifically, we investigate the relationship between campaign messaging strategies, such as advocacy and attacks, and the presence of incivility in public comments. We find that Trump dominated both in terms of number of posts and of public conversation and was the least likely to receive uncivil comments. Attack messages by the candidates were more likely to receive uncivil comments, suggesting that campaign negativity may indeed affect how the public engages with candidates online. These findings are important because uncivil discourse may contribute to further polarize the public around the issues, which may in turn lead to more extreme views.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:digital campaigns, online discussion, Online Incivility, US Elections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rossini, Dr Patricia
Authors: Rossini, P., Sturm-Wikerson, H., and Johnson, T. J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Journal of Information Technology and Politics
ISSN (Online):1933-169X
Published Online:16 December 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Taylor and Francis
First Published:First published in Journal of Information Technology and Politics 18(3): 243-257
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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