Political elections see several actors rise to the fore in order to influence and inform voters. Increasingly, such processes take place on social media like Facebook, where media outlets and politicians alike utilize seek promote their respective agenda.
Given the recent rise of so-called hyperpartisan media – often described as purveyors of ‘fake news’ – and populist right-wing parties across a series of western contexts, the present study details the degree to which these novel actors succeed in overtaking their more mainstream or indeed established competitors when it comes to audience engagement on the mentioned platform.
Focusing on the one-month period leading up to the 2018 Swedish national elections, the study finds that right-wing actors across the media and the political sector are more successful in engaging their Facebook followers than their competitors. As audience engagement is a key factor for social media success, the study closes by providing a discussion on the repercussions for professionals within the media and the political sector.
Prof. Dr. Anders Olof Larsson is Professor of media and communication studies at Kristiania University College in Oslo, Norway.
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