Social Media News Consumption and Opinion Polarization on China’s Trade Practices: Evidence from a U.S. National Survey

Yanqin Lu, Rik Ray, Louisa Ha, Peiqin Chen


Drawing on a national survey among American adults, this study focuses on the trade dispute between the U.S. and China and explores the relationship between social media use and opinion polarization about China’s trade practices. The results reveal that the time spent on social media is indirectly associated with opinion polarization on China’s trade practices through news consumption on social media. Furthermore, the mediating effect of social media news consumption is found to be particularly stronger among those who frequently encounter like-minded information related to the U.S. government’s action during the trade dispute. Implications are discussed for the interaction between foreign policy and public opinion in the contemporary media environment.


social media, selective exposure, foreign policy, U.S.–China relations, opinion polarization

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