Right-wing populism, social media and echo chambers in Western democracies
populism, social media, digital media, echo chambers, political discussion, selective exposure, cross-national
Many observers are concerned that echo chamber effects in digital media are contributing to the polarization of publics and in some places to the rise of right-wing populism. This study employs survey data collected in France, the United Kingdom, and United States (1500 respondents in each country) from April to May 2017. Overall, we do not find evidence that online/social media explain support for right-wing populist candidates and parties. Instead, in the USA, use of online media decreases support for right-wing populism. Looking specifically at echo chambers measures, we find offline discussion with those who are similar in race, ethnicity, and class positively correlates with support for populist candidates and parties in the UK and France. The findings challenge claims about the role of social media and the rise of populism.
Boulianne, S., Koc-Michalska, K., and Bimber, B. (2020). Right-wing populism, social media and echo chambers in Western democracies. New Media & Society, 22(4), 683–699. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444819893983
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