The small screen size and rushed nature of mobile phone use create bandwidth limitations for users, leading them to be less deliberate and more spontaneous in their online interactions. This has resulted in the widespread phenomenon of sharing without clicking. When online users see a link or headline that appears to be aligned with their ideology, they are more likely to share it rather than scrutinizing the contents of the link or story. Does this mean they are being more honest in expressing their stance when they share without clicking? We seek to answer this question by investigating users’ sharing of political content on Facebook. What types of content are more often shared without clicking? Would the content shared without clicking be less moderate and more closely aligned with the user’s ideological affiliation? We expect to see more sharing of extreme, rather than moderate, political content and more often without clicking, which would be indicative of spontaneity. We expect to pair this data with concurrent investigations on the role played by device in predicting sharing behaviors, wherein we expect mobile device use to be associated with more spontaneous sharing of political content. Together, our findings can advance our understanding of the role played by communication technologies and the affordances and contexts of social media in influencing online political discussion, and thereby inform design of interfaces and interventions for fostering more robust deliberation.
S. Shyam Sundar
James P. Jimirro Professor of Media Effects & Codirector, Media Effects Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University
Associate Professor of Rural Sociology and Demography and Public Health Sciences, Pennsylvania State University
PhD Student, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, Pennsylvania State University
Assistant Research Professor, Social Science Research Institute & Associate, Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, Pennsylvania State University