Political communication on Facebook

Political communication on Facebook

(Doctoral research at Corvinus University of Budapest)

The doctoral research investigates the role social media in general and Facebook in particular play in contemporary political communication. Its starting point is that due to the wide expansion of Facebook use citizens’ political communication have become an important part of the political communication process. While in the third age of political communication (see, Blumler & Kavanagh, 1999) political communication aimed primarily to affect reactions and communication of mass media outlets, in case of political communication on social media exerting influence on citizens’ political communication has become crucial. While in case of mass media-centric communication those contents can reach a large number of voters that are extensively reported by media outlets, in social media political communication citizens’ reactions and communication can spread widely the messages. It is well documented in the literature that media reactivity can be triggered by contents fitting to the logic of mass media. This process is usually referred to as ‘mediatization’ of the politics by the literature (see, Strömbäck, 2008). Subsequent research has thoroughly documented what consequences have occurred in communicated content of politics due to mediatization of politics (e.g. personalization, negativity etc.). At the same time, our knowledge is very limited regarding citizens’ political communication on social media; little is known about what kind of political contents they react to and share with their friends. The close examination of this aspect will advance our understanding of what transformations in political communication in general and the content of political communication in particular is resulted in due to the emergence of social media in political communication. Consequently, the central research question of the project is that how citizens’ reactivity operates on candidates’ Facebook page. More specifically, the question is what kinds of contents are more likely reacted, shared and getting viral, i.e. extremely shared, out of the large number of posts candidates share with their followers.

Principal investigator: Marton Bene


Bene, Marton (2017): Go viral on the Facebook! Interactions between Candidates and Followers on Facebook during the Hungarian General Election Campaign of 2014. Information, Communication and Society 20(4): 513-529.

Bene, Marton (2017): Influenced by Peers: Facebook as an Information Source for Young People. Social Media + Society, 3(2), 1-14.

Bene, Marton (2017): Sharing is Caring! Investigating Viral Posts on Politicians' Facebook Pages during the 2014 General Election Campaign in Hungary. Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 14(4): 387-402.

Bene, Marton (2018): Post Shared, Vote Shared: Investigating the Link Between Facebook Performance and Electoral Success During the Hungarian General Election Campaign of 2014. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 95(2), 363-380.