Together and Separate? An exploratory study of political polarization on social media during the 2016 Brazilian political crisis

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Reporting Human Rights, Conflicts and Peace-building: Critical and Global Perspectives, 2019, pp. 243-263
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This research is centred on the impact that social media has on social life, focusing particularly on political discussions among Facebook users in Brazil using the 2016 political crisis to question whether online participation enhances group polarization. Alves and Mutsvairo explore digitally mediated discussions during the 2016 Brazilian political crisis. Were the discussions as polarized as claimed by conventional media outlets? If so, did social media play a role in maximizing potential polarization among citizens during the aforementioned period? For this purpose, this chapter uses group polarization theory to question the extent to which polarization can be nourished in the Brazilian digital sphere. Methodologically, data was gathered by approaching Facebook users through a Web-based questionnaire, containing open questions (qualitative data) along with multiple-choice questions (quantitative data).
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