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Behavioral Effects of Framing on Social Media Users: How Conflict, Economic, Human Interest, and Morality Frames Drive News Sharing

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We hypothesize that generic frames influence what news people share on Facebook and Twitter through three different routes: emotions, motivations, and psychological engagement. Using a mixed‐methods design, a content analysis of a representative sample of articles published in six Chilean outlets was combined with in‐depth interviews with digital journalists. After controlling for issue, newsworthiness, informational utility, valence, and other confounds, results show that—across platforms—a morality frame increases news sharing, whereas a conflict frame decreases it. Emphasizing economic consequences also decreases sharing, but only on Facebook. Surprisingly, the human interest angle has no noticeable effects. These results show that news frames can have behavioral consequences, and confirm the existence of a gap between preferred frames of journalists and users.
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Keywords: Facebook; Framing; Mixed Methods; News Sharing; Social Media; Twitter

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2017

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