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Facebook as a ‘trusted space of everyday communication’: Parties, citizens and direct representation

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Detailing processes related to direct representation in a longitudinal fashion, the study at hand gauges the degree to which Swedish political parties have utilized their Facebook pages during a four-year period covering two elections. Moreover, the study provides insights into citizen interaction by measuring the types of engagement preferred by Facebook users in relation to the party pages. Results indicate that while the bulk of parties appear as largely organizing their online activity in relation to election campaigns, the small, non-parliamentary Pirate Party emerges as taking an approach more in line with the permanent campaign aspect of direct representation. Moreover, while results indicate that citizens are indeed engaging with parties on Facebook, they do so mostly through ‘liking’ rather than commenting ‐ arguably a tendency suggesting limited interest in online discussion and deliberation.
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Keywords: Facebook; Sweden; election studies; political communication; quantitative methods; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000403833497Kristiania University College

Publication date: June 1, 2020

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