Science

On Facebook, COVID-19 is a polarized member of the US Parliament: Research

When communicating about COVID-19, most messages from members of parliament have a positive or negative tone. Credit: Laura Moses / OpenMoji

A Facebook post by members of the US Congress reveals the depth of Partisan’s division into the COVID-19 pandemic. New research shows.


12,031 Facebook posts on pandemics by lawmakers from March to October 2020 According to a survey of all, Democrats generally take a more negative or neutral tone on the issue, and Republicans are positive about their posts. It was likely that he had a tone.

Public crises such as pandemics show how important it is to understand how important message-centric social media is and how rhetoric affects message involvement and sharing. I emphasize it. Political science At Ohio State University.

“When parliamentarians communicate with the public about a pandemic, there is no” rally’round the flag “effect, suggesting a shift to partisan politics,” Moses said.

The survey also found that Democrats posted more to COVID-19 than Republicans. Negative posts Shared more often than positive ones, Republican posts attracted more engagement, such as likes and comments, than Democratic messages.

Moses worked with Janet Box Stephensmeier, a professor of political science in Ohio.The results were published in the journal today (July 14, 2021). Science Advances..

According to Box-Steffensmeier, these findings reflect the nature of the overall collapse of politics in today’s nation.

“Even when the crisis begins, there is a partisan tone difference in messaging,” she said.

Researchers used state-of-the-art machine learning tools to analyze the text of each message to measure the tone of members’ Facebook messages. The tool looked for the use of positive or negative words to give an overall “emotion” score for each message.

For example, posts that provide a resource guide for staying safe and healthy were positively labeled. Messages criticizing Trump administration officials for comparing the blockade to slavery were labeled negatively. Posts that encourage readers to wear masks have been marked as neutral.

The results showed that Democrats posted an average of 26 times about COVID-19 during the survey, while Republicans posted 18 times. Social distance was the only pandemic-related issue that the Republicans posted more than the Democrats.

On Facebook, COVID-19 is a polarized member of the US Parliament: Research

Average daily tone by political parties, values ​​closer to 1 are more positive, values ​​closer to -1 are more negative. Credits: Box-Steffensmeier and Moses, Sci. Advance 2021; 7: eabg2898

Democrats tended to have a more negative tone than Republicans, but overall they were on the slightly positive side. One issue that the Democrats were more negative than positive was postal services. Playing cards Postal service, And some Democrats have linked this to delays in delivery of medicines and obstruction of mail voting.

Many of the more negative posts by the Democratic Party were critical of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.

Republicans were most active in discussing and sharing information about pandemic-related resources.

“For example, Democrats use a more negative tone when discussing pandemics and the Trump administration than Republicans discussing the same topic,” Moses said.

The Democratic tone has changed significantly compared to the Republican tone. PandemicFor example, if the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States exceeds 100,000, according to a survey.

Overall, negative posts are likely to be disseminated by Facebook users, and Democrats have seen an increase in shared messages. But Republicans saw an increase in engagement. That is, users commented on their posts and responded with one of the reaction emojis, such as “Like” or “Love.”

The results showed that “sad” emojis were more responsive to posts with more negative tones and posts by more liberal members.

Negative tones also increase the use of “haha” emoji, suggesting that users are responding with irony and disgust.

Researchers pointed out that the study didn’t take into account the images and videos used in the post, which could affect the tone Facebook users take from their messages.

In text alone, the study showed that tone influences involvement in messages from parliamentarians. According to Box-Steffensmeier, this has important implications for understanding how governments can connect individuals with important information in urgent or critical moments.

“Facebook’s message on COVID-19 suggests that parliamentarians did not amplify public health or medical professional information on global health emergencies,” she said.

“The disagreement between Democrats and Republicans suggests that members are creating messages to express their opinions and political identities rather than sending a unified government response. ”


Researchers have found a strong correlation between partisanship and social mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic.


For more information:
JM Box-Steffensmeier et al. , “Meaningful Messaging: Feelings in Elite Social Media Communication with the Public on COVID-19 Pandemics” Science Advances (2021). Advances.sciencemag.org/lookup… .1126 / sciadv.abg2898

Quote: Also on Facebook, COVID-19 Polarized Members of the US Congress: Survey (July 14, 2021) from https: //phys.org/news/2021-07-facebook-covid-polarized-members-congress 2021 Obtained July 14, 2014. html

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