Electoral News Sharing: A Study of Changes in News Coverage and Facebook Sharing Behaviour During the 2018 Mexican Elections


Patterns of news consumption are changing drastically. Citizens increasingly rely on social media such as Facebook to read and share political news. With the power of these platforms to expose citizens to political information, the implications for democracy are profound, making understanding what is shared during elections a priority on the research agenda. Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, no study has yet explicitly explored how elections transform news sharing behaviour on Facebook. This study begins to remedy this by (a) investigating changes in news coverage and news sharing behaviour on Facebook by comparing election and routine periods, and by (b) addressing the `news gap’ between preferences of journalists and news consumers on social media. Employing a novel data set of news articles (N = 83,054) in Mexico, findings show that during periods of heightened political activity, both the publication and dissemination of political news increases, the gap between the news choices of journalists and consumers narrows, and that news sharing resembles a zero-sum game, with increased political news sharing leading to a decrease in the sharing of other news.

Information, Communication and Society