Facebook and political participation: Going beyond over-optimistic predictions
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Casteltrione, I. (2017) Facebook and political participation: Going beyond over-optimistic predictions. Northern Lights: Film & Media Studies Yearbook, 15 (1), pp. 131-148.
In the last decade there has been a proliferation of academic studies examining the links between social networking websites (SNSs) and citizens' political participation. Focusing on Facebook and on the specific contexts of Italy and the United Kingdom, this article adds to this strand of research and explores the limitations of this SNS as a political platform. The findings indicate three possible factors limiting the contributions of Facebook to political participation, namely, the non-universality of Facebook, its questionable credibility as a political information source and the enduring relevance of the offline dimension of political participation. In the light of these results, the article goes on to argue that the mobilizing force of Facebook rests, at least in part, on its connection with the offline world. Moreover, the research evidence underpinning this article suggests that the most effective way in which Facebook can aid political participation is, perhaps, by bridging the online-offline divide, integrating and supporting other media and offline activities.