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Bringing Civility Back to Internet-Based Political Discourse on Twitter Research into the Determinants of Uncivil Behavior During Online Political Discourse

Rüsel, J.T. (2017) Bringing Civility Back to Internet-Based Political Discourse on Twitter Research into the Determinants of Uncivil Behavior During Online Political Discourse.

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Abstract:With the rising number of controversial discussions about politics on the Internet, the amount of uncivil behavior on the Internet also grows. As the body of researches in this field is limited, this study aims to extend the body of researches by providing insights into potential determinants of uncivil behavior on the microblog Twitter. With the growing number of Twitter users, the possibility to comment and discuss Twitter contents and the opportunity to act without social presence of others, the temptation of performing uncivil behaviors during online political discussions also grows. This uncivil behavior is acted out in different forms for instance by name-calling, aspersion, using synonyms for lie/lying, vulgarity, hyperbole, non-cooperation, pejorative (for) speech, writing in all capital letters, provocative punctuation and provocation in general. In order to uncover potential determinants of the previously mentioned incivilities, a research with a 2x2x2 factorial design with the potential determinants of anonymity, impulsivity and peer pressure is conducted. The results of the research are diverse. Firstly, the research reveals that 43.12% of the respondents’ reactions contained at least one incivility. Secondly, the results indicate that provocation is the incivility that was used the most, followed by the use of vulgarity and non-cooperation. Finally, the main findings indicate that the general occurrence of incivilities is significantly predicted by peer pressure and the interaction between impulsivity and peer pressure, while name-calling is significantly predicted by peer pressure and the interaction between anonymity and impulsivity. Furthermore, it is found that impulsivity is a significant predictor for the use of synonyms for lying. Additionally, it is uncovered that the interaction between impulsivity and peer pressure predicts vulgarity and the interaction between anonymity and impulsivity predicts the use of hyperbole significantly.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/73670
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