Bibi and Mr. Prime Minister: do different Facebook identities imply different messages for political leaders?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Social media has been widely adopted by politicians and political parties during elections and routine times and has been discussed before. However, research in the field has so far not addressed how a political leader's private or official social media account affects their message, language and style. The current study examined how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uses his private Facebook account, compared to his use of his official Facebook page “Prime Minister of Israel.” Design/methodology/approach: In this study, the author identified the differences between these two digital entities using in-depth content analysis based on all posts (N = 1,484) published on the two pages over a 12-month period between 2018 and 2019. Findings: The study’s findings indicate that Netanyahu regularly uses his personal page to address topics that are not represented on his official page, such as mentioning and attacking political rivals, presenting political agenda, and criticizing Israeli journalists and media organizations. Netanyahu's private Facebook account is also used to comment on personal events such as the criminal indictments he is facing and family affairs. Originality/value: The findings highlight the need to investigate the different identities that politicians maintain on social media when they use personal or official accounts, sometimes on the same platform. The medium matters, yet the author also discovered that a leader's choice of account and its title are also important. Peer review: The peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-01-2021-0004.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-482
Number of pages19
JournalOnline Information Review
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Keywords

  • Elections
  • Facebook
  • Israel
  • Online campaigns
  • Political identity
  • Social media

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