Echoslamming: how incivility interacts with cyberbalkanization on the social media in Hong Kong

Chan, Chung-hong ; Chow, Cassius Siu-lun ; Fu, King-wa

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Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2019
The title of a journal, publication series: Asian Journal of Communication
Volume: 29
Issue number: 4
Page range: 307-327
Place of publication: London [u.a.]
Publishing house: Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN: 0129-2986 , 1742-0911
Publication language: English
Institution: Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Mannheim Centre for European Social Research - Research Department B
Subject: 320 Political science
Abstract: Cyberbalkanization has growingly become common on the Internet and can lead to public’s opinion polarization. This study investigates a specific process of cyberbalkanization through which incivility is circulated within online communities. From a dataset of Hong Kong-based Facebook Pages collected during a social movement, a set of politically-organized communities was identified and their connectivity generated a post-sharing network. A random sample of contents shared between and within these communities was then manually classified based on the level of incivility. The targets of offence through the use of uncivil language were also coded. Contents shared within ideologically compatible communities were found to be more likely to be uncivil. The association was significantly more positive in a populistic community, of which members had unique political nature and cultural norms. The targets were usually political opponents and incivility was adopted to petition detractors from within-community discussions. We therefore suggest ‘echoslamming’ is an online phenomenon through which uncivil contents catalyse anger toward political opponents among ideologically congruent information sources and consequently reinforce the audience’s predilection. Such a mechanism can be one underlying explanation for a vicious circle of cyberbalkanization-induced polarization on political opinions.

Dieser Eintrag ist Teil der Universitätsbibliographie.

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