Discussing Politics on SNSs Across National Contexts: A Comparison Between Facebook and Twitter Users in France and Japan
Previous works have suggested that social network sites (SNSs) users are exposed to political content incidentally through messages posted by network friends, regardless of their interest in politics. I propose to explore to what extent discussing politics on social media depends on (1) news-seeking attitudes, (2) personal news curation, and (3) users’ interest in politics. Using a cross-national sample of French and Japanese SNS users, I test a series of hypotheses with multiple group analysis. The results show that while political discussions on SNSs mainly arise independently from intentional news seeking, political interest determines the chances of discussing politics with network friends. Moreover, discussing politics on SNSs is more dependent on news-seeking attitudes for the Japanese group. These results put into question the generalizability of previous findings regarding social media’s role in providing political information for large audiences.