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Research measures political polarization in Europe through parties' Facebook pages

Research measures political polarisation in Europe through the parties' Facebook pages
Political Ideology of European Countries. Credit: EPJ Data Science (2022). DOI: 10.1140/epjds/s13688-022-00367-1

Scientists from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have designed a new methodology to analyze political polarization through the Facebook posts of European parties. They have also created a website openly displaying these results, where it is possible to make comparisons by country at different times.

In this work, recently published in EPJ Data Science, researchers have analyzed the ideology and polarization of the European Union's 27 member states and the United Kingdom using posts on ' Facebook pages.

"Using published posts, it's possible to analyze on which side of the political spectrum each European country is positioned, for example, to find out if it is more left or right-leaning. It is also possible to see how politically divided or polarized each of the nations is," explains one of the authors of this work, Francisco Caravaca, a researcher in UC3M's Telematics Engineering Department.

The research compiles a three-year dataset (from 2019 to 2021) with information from the Facebook pages of 234 political parties.

The authors made use of the 2019 European Parliament elections and 18 other electoral processes to create and validate their models. "Our methodology benefits from being a low-cost execution process that measures ideology and polarization," adds another of the researchers, Ángel Cuevas, Senior Lecturer in UC3M's Telematics Engineering Department. Given that data from a social network is used, it is possible to observe changes in political trends in each of the countries analyzed, and to see the evolution of these changes month by month.

All of the information can be found on a freely accessible web portal, called EU Political Barometer. The data available from the 1st of January 2019 makes it possible to compare different European countries, and is also useful for studying the degree of polarization.

Credit: Carlos III University of Madrid

More information: Francisco Caravaca et al, Estimating ideology and polarization in European countries using Facebook data, EPJ Data Science (2022). DOI: 10.1140/epjds/s13688-022-00367-1

EU Political Barometer:

Citation: Research measures political polarization in Europe through parties' Facebook pages (2023, February 3) retrieved 22 June 2024 from
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