Facebook and Political Information in Italy and the UK: An Antidote against Political Fragmentation and Polarisation?
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Casteltrione, I. (2014) Facebook and Political Information in Italy and the UK: An Antidote against Political Fragmentation and Polarisation? Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 4 (1), pp. 27-49.
Due to the rise of digital technologies citizens can today counton innumerable and diverse sources of political information. Arguably such a proliferation of media choices in conjunction with a structural aspect of the internet, namely the presence of a pro-active and self-selecting audience, offers the conditions most conducive to selective exposure (Bimber & Davis 2003). The tendency for selectivity of the internet audience has raised serious concerns as it maylead to a more polarised and less informed electorate (Sunstein 2001, Polat 2005, Bennett & Iyengar 2008). However, despite many theoretical speculations, the relationship between the internet and the exposure to politically diverse information is still unclear. The present paper aims to contribute to this debate. Through a sequential explanatory mixed methods strategy, it examines the impact of Facebook on the consumption of political information in Italy and the United Kingdom and argues thatthis social networking website could reduce the risks of selective exposure and operate as an antidote against political fragmentation and polarization.