Nili Steinfeld and Azi Lev-On. 2019. Top-down, Non-inclusive and Non-egalitarian: Characterizing the communication of members of parliament with the public on their Facebook pages. In Proceedings of dg.o 2019: 20th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research. New York: ACM.
Social media are relatively new channels of communication between members of parliament and constituents. This study uses automatic analysis to produce a birds-eye-view of the content uploaded to Facebook pages of all MPs during an entire term of parliament. The findings demonstrate that the MP-Facebook sphere is non-egalitarian, in that it follows skewed distributions of post publication and engagement between MP pages; not-inclusive, in that pages of coalition members receive much more engagement in comparison to pages of members of the oppositions; and ‘top-down’, in that posts by pages receive dramatically more engagement then posts by users, suggesting MPs’ ability to set the agenda manifest in their pages, and users’ extremely limited ability to do so. These phenomena occur not just in routine periods but during emergency periods as well, when the scope of posting by users, and engagement with posts, significantly increase.