Characterizing disagreement in online political talk: examining incivility and opinion expression on news websites and facebook in Brazil

Rossini, P. and Maia, R. (2021) Characterizing disagreement in online political talk: examining incivility and opinion expression on news websites and facebook in Brazil. Journal of Deliberative Democracy, 17(1), pp. 90-104.

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This paper examines the ways people engage in political conversation triggered by exposure to political news in two different informal platforms in Brazil: Facebook and news websites. We analyze the extent to which disagreement is associated to discursive traits that are commonly associated with deliberative behavior, such as directly engaging with others, and trying to justify one’s views, and negative traits, such as incivility. The contributions of this paper can be summarized as follows. First, this paper emphasizes the importance of looking beyond a single platform and a single topic to understand political discussion online. Second, we demonstrate that online disagreement is positively associated with both deliberative traits, such as justified opinion expression, and non-deliberative traits, such as incivility, and argue that the latter is not enough to dismiss the value of political talk. We also demonstrate that the topic of a news story is relevant both to drive political conversation and to spark political disagreement: controversies involving celebrities and stories covering international affairs are more likely to drive heterogeneous conversations than more conventional political topics (e.g. government, policy), even though these are the topics that tend to attract more political talk. Finally, this study contributes to fill an important gap in the literature, looking beyond the US and Western European contexts by examining political talk in Brazil, the fourth largest digital market in the world.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This study was supported in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior— Brasil (CAPES)—Finance Code 001 through a doctorate scholarship to Dr. Rossini.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rossini, Dr Patricia
Authors: Rossini, P., and Maia, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Journal of Deliberative Democracy
Publisher:University of Westminster Press
ISSN (Online):2634-0488
Published Online:28 April 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Journal of Deliberative Democracy 17(1): 90-104
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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