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Title: Accidental exposure to politics on social media as online participation equalizer in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom
Authors: Valeriani, Augusto
Vaccari, Cristian
Keywords: Accidental exposure
Comparative research
Internet and politics
Online political participation
Political information
Social media
United Kingdom
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Sage © The Author(s)
Citation: VALERIANI, A. and VACCARI, C., 2015. Accidental exposure to politics on social media as online participation equalizer in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. New Media and Society, 18 (9), pp. 1857-1874.
Abstract: We assess whether and how accidental exposure to political information on social media contributes to citizens’ online political participation in comparative perspective. Based on three online surveys of samples representative of German, Italian, and British Internet users in the aftermath of the 2014 European Parliament elections, we find that accidental exposure to political information on social media is positively and significantly correlated with online participation in all three countries, particularly so in Germany where overall levels of participation were lower. We also find that interest in politics moderates this relationship so that the correlation is stronger among the less interested than among the highly interested. These findings suggest that inadvertent encounters with political content on social media are likely to reduce the gap in online engagement between citizens with high and low interest in politics, potentially broadening the range of voices that make themselves heard.
Description: Copyright © 2015 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. The definitive published version of this paper is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444815616223.
Sponsor: This work was supported by the Italian Ministry of Education “Future in Research 2012” initiative (project code RBFR12BKZH) for the project titled “Building Inclusive Societies and a Global Europe Online: Political Information and Participation on Social Media in Comparative Perspective” (http://www.webpoleu.net).
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1177/1461444815616223
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/28254
Publisher Link: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444815616223
ISSN: 1461-4448
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies)

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