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Title:Trends in incivility and intolerance: An analysis of political Facebook comments during the 2016 election
Author(s):Yacubov, Hanna; Rossini, Patrícia
Public discourse
Political campaigns
Abstract:This study focuses on incivility "below the line" in the context of the U.S. Presidential elections by investigating qualitative trends in uncivil and intolerant public comments left on Hillary Clinton's and Donald Trump's Facebook profiles. We leverage a sample of 1,501 Facebook comments that were previously categorized as uncivil or intolerant and conduct a qualitative discourse analysis to identify patterns in these types of expressions to provide a better understanding of the rhetorical or argumentative roles of incivility, as well as to examine the targets of this type of discourse. Notably, intolerant discourse occurs much less frequently than incivility, and the latter is routinely directed at the candidates and used to express reasoned opinions. We also find that the public adopts insults similar to those used by the campaigns, both when posting uncivil comments and when making intolerant threats, such as "grab her by the pussy". Taken together, these findings suggest that public comments on candidates' Facebook profiles often adopt a critical stance towards politicians and their positions, and that negative campaign rhetoric appears to have an influence on how people express incivility.
Issue Date:2020-03-23
Series/Report:iConference 2020 Proceedings
Genre:Conference Poster
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Hanna Yacubov and Patrícia Rossini
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-03-17

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