Caring is sharing? Comparing online political news publication and dissemination patterns across election and routine periods

Abstract

Citizens increasingly rely on social media platforms to not only read but to share news on politics. To date, little is known about how patterns of news sharing diverge across contexts. This study seeks to remedy this by investigating the news that users share on social media and the news published by news media organizations (a) across election and routine periods and (b) across eight countries (i.e., Australia, Austria, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom). Using a sample of the useNews dataset (265,714 URLs shared over 12 million times on Facebook), findings show that elections are linked to increases in political news publication, but even larger increases in political news sharing – these changes, however, vary significantly by country. We also show that, overall, political news is shared more often than news publication patterns would suggest, proposing higher political interest by Facebook users than previously thought.

Publication
Under Review