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Who Shares and Comments on News?: A Cross-National Comparative Analysis of Online and Social Media Participation

In “Who Shares and Comments on News?”, published in Social Media + Society, Antonis Kalogeropoulos, Samuel Negredo, Ike Picone and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen examine the profiles of those who share and comment on news online. They find that those who are motivated to engage with news use the potential for participation offered by the digital media, while those who are less engaged, participate less.

The full article is available here.

Abstract: In this article, we present a cross-national comparative analysis of which online news users in practice engage with the participatory potential for sharing and commenting on news afforded by interactive features in news websites and social media technologies across a strategic sample of six different countries. Based on data from the 2016 Reuters Institute Digital News Report, and controlling for a range of factors, we find that (1) people who use social media for news and a high number of different social media platforms are more likely to also engage more actively with news outside social media by commenting on news sites and sharing news via email, (2) political partisans on both sides are more likely to engage in sharing and commenting particularly on news stories in social media, and (3) people with high interest in hard news are more likely to comment on news on both news sites and social media and share stores via social media (and people with high interest in any kind of news [hard or soft] are more likely to share stories via email). Our analysis suggests that the online environment reinforces some long-standing inequalities in participation while countering other long-standing inequalities. The findings indicate a self-reinforcing positive spiral where the already motivated are more likely in practice to engage with the potential for participation offered by digital media, and a negative spiral where those who are less engaged participate less.

Keywords: commenting, cross-national survey, news participation, sharing