Platform Civics: Facebook in the Local Information Infrastructure

Kjerstin Thorson, Mel Medeiros, Kelley Cotter, Yingying Chen, Kourtnie Rodgers, Arram Bae, Sevgi Baykaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Digital platforms are transforming practices of political information production and circulation in local communities. We develop the theoretical concept of local political information infrastructure to draw attention to (1) the broadening array of actors who are producing political information in local communities, in addition to local news media, and (2) the role of network media logics in shaping everyday practices of political information production and circulation. We combine a computational analysis of Facebook posts from news and non-news community actors in a mid-sized Midwestern U.S. city with interviews with communication managers at local non-profits, libraries, local government, and city service organizations in that same case community. Our findings illustrate the ways in which local news media are increasingly displaced from the centre of local political information infrastructures, while Facebook moves to take up a central infrastructural role. We consider the consequences of these shifts for the circulation of politics and policy information in communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1231-1257
Number of pages27
JournalDigital Journalism
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication


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