Paweł Matuszewsk, Gabriella Szabó (2019)

Are Echo Chambers Based on Partisanship? Twitter and Political Polarity in Poland and Hungary

Czasopismo Social Media + Society
Skrócona nazwa czasopisma SM+S
Numer/tom 5: 2(2019)
Ilość stron 1-14

ISSN: 2056-3051

In this study, we investigate how Twitter allows individuals in Hungary and Poland to experience different political views. To comprehend citizens' exposure to political information, "who's following who?" graphs of 455,912 users in Hungary (851,557 connections) and 1,803,837 users in Poland (10,124,501 connections) are examined. Our conceptual point of departure is that Twitter follower networks tell us whether individuals prefer to be members of a group that receives one-sided political messages, or whether they tend to form politically heterogeneous clusters that cut across ideological lines. Methodologically, such connections are best studied by means of computer-aided quantitative research complemented by the sociocentric approach of network analysis. Our data date from September 2018. The findings for Poland do not support the hypothesis of clusters emerging along partisan lines. Likewise, the Hungarian case reveals sharp group divisions on Twitter, the nodes however are diverse and overlapping in terms of political leaning. The data suggest that exposure and segregation in follower networks are not necessarily based on partisanship.

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