The Influence of Facebook Comments on News Topics

Alexander Moe, PhD (Assistant Professor of Journalism, Broadcasting, and Public Relations), has been accepted to present at an international conference a peer-reviewed manuscript exploring the influence of Facebook comments’ contributing effect toward a hostile media bias relating to COVID-19 vaccine-related news.

Dr. Moe, along with colleagues from Texas Tech University sought to investigate the influence of Facebook comments and news topics.

Using a 2 (likeminded comments or disagreeable comments) x 2 (story topic of requiring vaccines to receive a monetary bonus or maintain employment) between-subjects experimental design to conduct their study, adult Facebook users were specifically recruited to participate using Dynata, a professional survey company who was contracted to collect a nationwide sample of U.S. adults (N = 1,274).

Findings indicate that news topics influenced various perceptions of bias associated with exposure to social media comments. Specifically, the topics readers were exposed to alongside Facebook news-story comment exposure were observed to have an interaction effect demonstrating that likeminded comments can enhance perceived bias in favor of one’s opinion, especially when seen alongside intense story topics.

Their study has been accepted for presentation with The Broadcast and Mobile Journalism Division (BMJ) during the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) which will be held in Detroit in August.

This study was funded by a $9,925 grant that the collaborators were recently awarded from The Waterhouse Family Institute at Villanova University.

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Posted: May 11, 2022