ELECTORAL COMPETITION IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA: THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS

Chao Ding, Wael Jabr, Hong Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Social media—and, in particular, social media influencers—are playing an increasingly central role in shaping public opinion on a variety of issues. The political sphere is no exception. In response to the impact that social media influencers have on citizens’ political views and voting behaviors, political parties adapt their messages and policies during election campaigns. Media outlets, too, faced with competition for readership from social media, are adjusting their news coverage. To analyze the nature and extent of the impact of social media on parties’ policies, media outlets’ news reports, and citizens’ opinions, we used a game theoretical model of electoral competition involving four key stakeholders—citizens, political parties, media outlets, and social media influencers. Our results show that with social media, parties’ policy positions become more moderate while media outlets’ editorial positions become more extreme. We also show that citizens’ opinions may become more polarized when the influencers’ true editorial positions are more homogeneous as a result of increased information distortion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1647-1662
Number of pages16
JournalMIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems
Volume47
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management

Cite this