Political “Postwriting” on Facebook: Public Perceptions About Parliamentarians’ (Un)Real SNS Involvement

Chen Sabag Ben-Porat, Sam Lehman-Wilzig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theoretical research on political communication between MPs and the public has focused on the role, activities, and perceptions of the MPs themselves without noting the existence of an intermediate layer: parliamentary assistants (PAs). This study attempts to investigate how the public perceives, practically and ethically, the (non)involvement of MPs, that is, reliance on PAs for SNSs (social network sites) communication with the public and to fill out the theoretical void in the discourse process. Questionnaires were sent to all 120 members of the 20th Israeli Knesset (MKs), with 44 responding. We examined the extent of their involvement and the MKs’ use patterns of Facebook, creating a model of four MK involvement levels. The idea was to check the extent of PAs’ authoring posts on behalf of MKs, what we call “Postwriting” (= post ghostwriting) in the MK’s name (or giving the impression that the MKs had themselves posted). Then we conducted a public opinion poll (N = 505) in order to discern what the public thought about the nature of its relationship with MKs on Facebook, compared to the findings that emerged from the model of the MKs’ involvement in actual practice. The two parts of the study also enabled us to investigate the ethical perceptions and implications arising from the study.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Media and Society
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.

Keywords

  • Facebook
  • MPs
  • ethics
  • ghostwriting
  • intermediary
  • parliamentary assistants
  • political communication
  • political discourse
  • social media

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