Expressing and Challenging Racist Discourse on Facebook: How Social Media Weaken the “Spiral of Silence” Theory (Academia .edu)

Found on Academia.edu: Expressing and Challenging Racist Discourse onFacebook: How Social Media Weaken the “Spiral of Silence” Theory. “This article examines the discursive practices of Facebook users who use the platform to express racist views. We analyzed 51,991 public comments posted to 119 news stories about race, racism, or ethnicity on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News Facebook page. We examined whether users who hold racist viewpoints (the vocal minority) are less likely to express views that go against the majority view for fear of social isolation. According to the ‘spiral of silence’ theory, the vocal minority would presumably fear this isolation effect. However, our analysis shows that on Facebook,a predominantly nonanonymous and moderated platform, the vocal minority are comfortable expressing unpopular views, questioning the explanatory power of this popular theory in the online context.” I had not heard of the Spiral of Silence theory, but Briannica helped me out.

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