Social network sites and acquiring current affairs knowledge: The impact of Twitter and Facebook usage on learning about the news

Mark Boukes
  • Journal of Information Technology & Politics, February 2019, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/19331681.2019.1572568

The impact of Twitter (positive) and Facebook (negative) usage on learning about the news

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

What is it about?

This study investigates how the use of Twitter and Facebook affects citizens’ knowledge acquisition, and whether this effect is conditional upon people’s political interest. Using a panel survey design with repeated measures of knowledge acquisition, this study is able to disentangle causality and to demonstrate that more frequent usage of Twitter positively affects the acquisition of current affairs knowledge. The opposite is found for Facebook: More frequent Facebook usage causes a decline in knowledge acquisition. This negative effect of Facebook usage occurred particularly for citizens with less political interest, thereby, amplifying the existing knowledge gap between politically interested and uninterested citizens.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19331681.2019.1572568

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