Social Network Sites and Political Engagement: Exploring the Impact of Facebook Connections and Uses on Political Protest and Participation
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AbstractPast studies have shown positive relationships between use of social network sites (SNSs) and political engagement, but an understanding of the mechanisms underlying the relationship is limited because the studies often did not take into account the diverse affordances of SNSs that can influence participation in different ways. Adopting the O-S-R-O-R (Orientation–Stimulus–Reasoning–Orientation–Response) model of political communication effects, this study examined the roles of Facebook network size, connections with public political actors, use for news, and political expression on political attitudes, protest, and participation. Structural equation analyses were conducted based on data from a national sample in Hong Kong, a city-state with one of the world’s highest Facebook penetration rates. Results showed that Facebook network size and connections with public political actors exhibit both direct and indirect effects on participation through Facebook news, expression, and efficacy. Facebook news exhibited indirect effects primarily though political expression. A discriminant function analysis also showed that age, education, and online news exposure were the most influential variables for distinguishing Facebook users and nonusers. Implications of the findings are discussed.
All Author(s) ListChan M.
Journal nameMass Communication and Society
Year2016
Month7
Day3
Volume Number19
Issue Number4
PublisherLawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Place of PublicationUnited States
Pages430 - 451
ISSN1520-5436
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

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