How does Facebook shape electoral campaigns and election results in contemporary democracies? Available research confronts several limitations to addressing that question effectively. This proposal seeks to jointly tackle three limitations: (1) the perils of conceptualizing the online campaign as the “only” or “main” campaign activity; (2) the limits set by analyzing highly visible (usually national-level) campaigns that do not vary in terms of the socioeconomic and local political context in which they are deployed; and (3) the limits set by analyzing campaigns mainly in highly developed Western societies, which might constrain the observed “varieties of social network use” in a broader range of societies. Our research exploits the synergies of jointly analyzing Social Science One data with the data we have already gathered on (a) the 186 online electoral campaigns (in Twitter and Facebook) of congressional candidates that ran in Chile’s 2017 elections; (b) the “on the ground” campaigns of 17 additional candidates for which we also have observed online campaigns; (c) contextual data on candidate’s traits, electoral strategizing, campaign funding and spending, and districts political and socioeconomic characteristics; (d) the online presidential campaigns that occurred concurrently with the congressional campaign, inducing some candidates to exploit coattail effects; and (e) a database of 50 campaigns observed in the pre-Facebook era in comparable districts to those sampled in 2017. Our transdisciplinary team is already working together at Chile’s Millennium Institute for Foundational Research on Data, a leading research center in Latin America that specializes in assessing the sociopolitical impact of “data” in contemporary societies.
Juan Pablo Luna
Professor of Political Science, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Associate Professor of Political Science, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Universidad de Chile
Associate Professor of Political Science, Universidad Diego Portales
Associate Professor of Political Science, Universidad de Concepción
Associate Professor at the School of Communication & Associate Researcher of the Millennium Institute for Foundational Research on Data, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile