The earnest platform: U.S. presidential candidates, COVID-19, and social issues on Instagram

Sabine Niederer, Gabriele Colombo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Increasingly, Instagram is discussed as a site for misinformation, inau-thentic activities, and polarization, particularly in recent studies aboutelections, the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines. In this study, we havefound a different platform. By looking at the content that receives themost interactions over two time periods (in 2020) related to three U.S.presidential candidates and the issues of COVID-19, healthcare, 5G andgun control, we characterize Instagram as a site of earnest (as opposedto ambivalent) political campaigning and moral support, with a rela-tive absence of polarizing content (particularly from influencers) andlittle to no misinformation and artificial amplification practices. Mostimportantly, while misinformation and polarization might be spreadingon the platform, they do not receive much user interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe propagation of misinformation in social media
Subtitle of host publicationa cross-platform analysis
EditorsRichard Rogers
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Chapter7
Pages139-163
ISBN (Electronic)9789048554249
ISBN (Print)9789463720762
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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