Vertical and horizontal communication on the Facebook pages of 2014 Brazilian presidential candidates
Keywords:Brazil, online interaction, political participation, presidential campaign, social media, vertical and horizontal communication
Social networking sites can be defined as online services that allow users to create public or private profiles and, among other things, create connections, share opinions, news, and affections. In 2014, many electors in Brazil were engaged in the presidential campaign on these virtual spaces as never before. In this context, the research question guiding this study is: What are the communication strategies employed by electors and the three main presidential candidates in the online interaction processes during the 2014 Brazilian elections? To address this question, empirical research was employed using a qualitative approach to analyze comments posted in the candidates’ Facebook fan pages during that electoral process. Based on the research and theory in this field, two types of communication in the virtual space were investigated: (a) vertical communication through interaction between Internet users and campaign staff; and (b) horizontal communication among electors in the comments section. We conclude that, although the comments section of the candidates’ pages on Facebook is frequently used as a space both for mutual support and incivility against opponents, it is still used creatively for discussion on the candidates’ government plans, the situation of the country, attempts of engagement in the electoral process and exposure to ideologically crosscutting viewpoints.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Lídia Raquel Herculano Maia, Olga Demushina, Stephen D. McDowell
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