INFORMATION SOURCES SHARED ON FACEBOOK AND NETWORKING BY POPULIST LEADERS IN ITALY
Studia Politica Slovaca, 2021, vol. 14, no. 2-3, p. 51-65
Social media (Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube) seem to be the key tool for accessing news in Italy. Coincidentally, they are also the key tool for communication and (internet-based) organisational aspects of two rather different populist parties (5SM and League) and their leaders, Di Maio (until January 2020) and Salvini. Salvini and Di Maio‘s FB pages shared contents that were not exactly analogous but still they present some similar characteristics. Among differences one can note that Salvini in contrast to Di Maio shared more frequently local content. Moreover, Salvini virtually ignored European sources. Network analysis showed that Salvini‘s FB page network was relatively far more extensive than Di Maio‘s. Interestingly, FB groups and pages sharing Di Maio’s posts were rather symbolic in numbers and mainly organized as bottom-up initiatives by small groups of militants that were not directly or formally linked to the 5SM. Conversely, those FB pages and groups more prone to share Salvini‘s contents tended to perceive themselves as local sections of the party. Both leaders tended to share content that supported their arguments, or at least content that they could use to support their own interpretation.
populism, Facebook, Luigi di Maio, Matteo Salvini, M5S, Lega, Italy, social media, networking
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