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Research project

Driving us further apart? The impact of social media on political attitudes toward Covid-19 policies

This project studied the effects of social-media-news use on political attitudes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As European governments cautiously proclaim to have the Covid-19 pandemic under control, debates about policy responses gain momentum. Did Covid-19 engender new political consensus or amplify existing divides? Some people think policies have needlessly hurt the economy and infringed on personal freedoms, while others maintain that governments have responded appropriately and highlight the benefits of an interventionist state.

Recognising that an increasing number of Europeans get their news on social media, this project ran a cross-country online experiment to examine how exposure to social media news about Covid-19 policies affects support for them. Social media platforms face increasing scrutiny to avoid exacerbating political divisions. Our project contributes to the pressing need for more knowledge on the effects of social-media-news use on political attitudes.

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