Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sebastian Popa
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
Online incivility and harassment in political communication have become an important topic of concern amongpoliticians, journalists and academics. This study provides a descriptive account of uncivil interactions between citizens and politicians on Twitter. We develop a conceptual framework for understanding the dynamics of incivility at three distinct levels: macro (temporal), meso (contextual), and micro (individual). Using longitudinal data from the Twitter communication mentioning Members of Congress in the U.S. across a time-span of over a year and relying onsupervised machine learning methods and topic models, we offer new insights about the prevalence and dynamicsof incivility towards legislators. We find that uncivil tweets represent consistently around 18% of all tweets mentioninglegislators, but with spikes that correspond to controversial policy debates and political events. Although we findevidence of coordinated attacks, our analysis reveals that the use of uncivil language is common to a large number ofusers.
Author(s): Theocharis Y, Barbera P, Fazekas Z, Popa SA
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Sage Open
Online publication date: 13/02/2020
Acceptance date: 10/01/2020
Date deposited: 11/02/2020
ISSN (print): 2158-2440
ISSN (electronic): 2158-2440
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