Research: authoritarian power influences people’s social media behavior

Scientists have studied how cultural differences affect human behavior on social networks. For the analysis, the researchers used Facebook posts. The results are published by the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising.

Portuguese researchers have studied how different political regimes affect people’s behavior on social networks. They assimilated data from 6,750 posts from 225 different brand Facebook pages in fifteen countries. It turned out that people’s relationship with power affects how users rate and comment on posts on the social network.

The researchers classified the engagement metrics, namely the number of likes, shares, and comments. They also looked at how people use different emojis – love, wow, and funny – to rate a post. Then the experts added data on the political situation in different countries to the analysis.

As a result, scientists have found several interesting correlations. For example, in countries with low levels of individualism and those where the authorities have distanced themselves from people, users share messages more often than comment on them. In other words, the more authoritative the government in the country, the more people simply share posts without commenting on them. The researchers also found that the use of “funny” or “wow” emoticons instead of the standard “like” was also associated with higher levels of individualism in the state.

Let us recall that individualism is a moral, political and social worldview (philosophy, ideology) that emphasizes individual freedom, the paramount importance of the individual, personal independence within the framework of the constitutional legal order.

The researchers note that their work is the first to be published on the basis of real, organically collected data in the form of indicators of engagement to analyze cultural differences. They intend to continue their research.

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Alexandr Ivanov earned his Licentiate Engineer in Systems and Computer Engineering from the Free International University of Moldova. Since 2013, Alexandr has been working as a freelance web programmer.
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Alexandr Ivanov

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