A significant body of literature within political communication revolves around the constructive political virtues and blighting social and democratic consequences of political anger. For the most part, studies have focused on identifying the primary causes and antecedents of political anger. However, within the context of social media, fewer efforts have been devoted to clarifying how and what infuriates people about politics. Does social media news use relate to increased or reduced levels of political anger? Do social media political homophilic networks explain political anger? And to what extent does political homophily influence the potential effect of social media news use on citizens’ political anger levels—moderating effect? Results drawing on a two-wave U.S. survey dataset show that the frequency of social media news use alone has no direct effect on people’s increased political anger, whereas interacting in homophilic discussion and information networks on social media positively associates with anger. Furthermore, the relationship between social media news use and political anger is contingent upon social media political homophily. Those who report high levels of social media news use and very low levels of social media political homophily end up being less angry over time. Limitations and steps for future research are discussed in the manuscript.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science