Lev-On, Azi, and Steinfeld, Nili. (2021). What influences engagement in Facebook election campaigns, and do they sway the vote? In: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research (pp. 104-112). New York: ACM.
The paper examines which variables predict engagement on Facebook pages of candidates running in municipal elections, and whether candidate Facebook activity predicts vote share as much as institutional and population-level variables. Using the Facebook activity of 387 candidates running in municipal elections in Israel as a case study, it was found that institutional variables, primarily number of candidates, incumbency status and size of constituency, significantly correlate with candidate vote share. Number of likes candidates receive for their Facebook posts mediates a weak relationship between number of posts the candidate uploads to the platform, number of page fans and population size, to candidate vote shares. Number of candidates and incumbency status are the strongest indicators of candidate vote share. The findings suggest that Facebook activity is a significant, positive, but weak indicator of municipal election results.