Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media https://journalqd.org/ <p>The journal publishes quantitative descriptive social science. It does not publish research that makes causal claims. The journal focuses on evidence that speaks to some substantive question or trend about digital communication processes and media. Articles can use a variety of data types and methods.</p> University of Zurich en-US Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media 2673-8813 Cross-Platform Reactions to the Post-January 6 Deplatforming https://journalqd.org/article/view/4030 <p> <span class="fontstyle0">We study changes in social media usage following the ‘Great Deplatforming’ in<br />the aftermath of the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol. Following the<br />attack, several major platforms banned thousands of accounts, ostensibly to<br />limit misinformation about voter fraud and suppress calls for violence. At the<br />same time, alternative platforms like Gab, BitChute, and Parler welcomed these<br />deplatformed individuals. We identify three key patterns: First, in studying<br />the platforms that emerged among users seeking alternative spaces, we see high<br />frequencies of users bridging these communities announcing their intent to join<br />non-mainstream platforms to their audiences on mainstream platforms. Second, focusing on platforms that were created to be alternative, anti-censorship<br />spaces, deplatforming preceded a sustained increase in engagement with Gab<br />across Twitter, Reddit, and Google search, while Parler saw a steep decline in<br />engagement. Third, examining the language in these spaces, toxic discourse<br />increased briefly on Reddit and Twitter but returned to normal after the deplatforming, while Gab became more toxic. These results suggest that while<br />deplatforming may precede a reduction in targeted discussions within a specific platform, it can incentivize users to seek alternative platforms where these<br />discussions are less regulated and often more extreme.</span><br />As these alternative spaces are often more political and extreme than their mainstream counterparts, deplatforming may drive single-platform improvements at the expense of the larger information ecosystem.</p> Cody Buntain Martin Innes Tamar Mitts Jacob Shapiro Copyright (c) 2023 Jacob Shapiro, Cody Buntain, Martin Innes, Tamar Mitts https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2023-03-12 2023-03-12 3 10.51685/jqd.2023.004 The Interplay between Right-Wing Alternative Media, Mainstream Media, and Republican Political Elites in the United States https://journalqd.org/article/view/3775 <p><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">Right-wing anti-establishment sentiment has enabled the mainstreaming of al</span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">ternative media outlets across Europe and the United States. Earlier research </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">has quantified the public recognition of these media actors through web traffic </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">rankings, direct social media engagement (e.g., reactions, comments, shares), </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">and topic overlap with establishment counterparts. We demonstrate a comput</span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">ationally scalable approach which (1) sharpens the analytical unit from topic </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">(e.g., “immigration”) to specific news event (e.g., “migrant caravan traveling </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">from Honduras”) and (2) enables the temporal ordering of the same news event </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">appearing among media and politicians.</span> <span dir="ltr" role="presentation">Our method uses a combination of </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">URL matching, word embedding similarity metrics, and network-based event</span><br role="presentation" /><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">detection techniques.</span> <span dir="ltr" role="presentation">We draw two main findings from a dataset of articles </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">from 13 U.S. right-wing media outlets and (re-)tweets by congressional Repub</span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">licans from 2016 to 2020. First, we identify a clear shift in politicians’ media </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">consumption from left- to right-wing outlets.</span> <span dir="ltr" role="presentation">While established-right outlets </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">made the largest gains (30% to 42% of all (re-)tweets), alternative-right outlets </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">also grew from 2% to 5%.</span> <span dir="ltr" role="presentation">Second, we identify increasing content alignment </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">among established- and alternative-right outlets as the URL-to-dyad ratio is </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">almost halved over the time period. Finally, we present a proof-of-concept for </span><span dir="ltr" role="presentation">detecting media outlets’ indirect political alignment.</span></p> Wai Lam Wong Damian Trilling Copyright (c) 2023 Wai Lam Wong, Damian Trilling https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2023-02-23 2023-02-23 3 10.51685/jqd.2023.001 Social Media Repertoires: Investigating Multifaceted Social Media Use Among Late Adolescents https://journalqd.org/article/view/3264 <p>Social media play a crucial role in adolescents’ everyday lives and impact their well-being, mental health, and risk behavior. Consequently, it is vital to understand the multifaceted social media use of this age group. However, despite the increasing number of platforms affording the curation of communication and audiences, studies to date have predominantly examined single platforms while neglecting sharing behavior and the variety of communication partners. In this article, we thus apply a holistic repertoire perspective that offers essential descriptive insights. We consider active social media users that 1) use multiple communication platforms, 2) apply various communication practices, and 3) curate distinct communication partners. We analyze data from a representative survey among late adolescents (ages 15–19) in Switzerland and explore the use of six social media platforms (i.e., Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook). We identify social media repertoires, analyze consumption, sharing, and curation practices, and compare perceived and addressed actors across platforms. The implications for future media use and effects research are discussed.</p> Tobias Frey Thomas N. Friemel Copyright (c) 2023 Tobias Frey, Thomas N. Friemel https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2023-02-23 2023-02-23 3 1 33 10.51685/jqd.2023.002 Pronoun Lists in Profile Bios Display Increased Prevalence, Systematic Co-Presence with Other Keywords and Network Tie Clustering among US Twitter Users 2015-2022 https://journalqd.org/article/view/3884 <p>Over the past few years, pronoun lists have become more prevalent in online spaces. Currently, various LGBT+ activists, universities, and corporations encourage people to share their preferred pronouns. Little research exists examining the characteristics of individuals who do publicly share their preferred pronouns. Using Twitter bios from the US between early 2015 and June 30, 2022, we explored users’ expression of preferred pronouns. First, we noted the prevalence of users with pronoun lists within their bio has increased substantially. Second, we observed that certain linguistic tokens systematically co-occurred with pronoun lists. Specifically, tokens associated with left-wing politics, gender or sexual identity, and social media argot co-occurred disproportionately often alongside pronoun lists, while tokens associated with right-wing politics, religion, sports, and finance co-occurred infrequently. Additionally, we discovered clustering among Twitter users with pronouns in their bios. Specifically, we found an above-average proportion of the followers and friends of Twitter users with pronouns in their bio also had pronouns in their bios. Twitter users who did not share their preferred pronouns, on the other hand, were disproportionately unlikely to be connected with Twitter users who did.</p> Liam Tucker Jason Jones Copyright (c) 2023 Liam Tucker, Jason J. Jones https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2023-03-12 2023-03-12 3 10.51685/jqd.2023.003 Slava Ukraini: Exploring Identity Activism in Support of Ukraine via the Ukraine Flag Emoji on Twitter https://journalqd.org/article/view/3759 <p>Identity Activism is a new phenomenon afforded by the massive popularity of social media. It consists of the prominent display of a social movement symbol within a space reserved for description of the self. The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine provides a contemporary (yet unfortunate) opportunity to observe this phenomenon. Here, we introduce and explore this concept in the context of the recent Twitter trend of displaying the Ukraine flag emoji in bios and names to signal support of Ukraine. We explore several questions, including: how has the popularity of this trend changed over time, are users who display the flag more likely to be connected to others who do, and what types of users are and are not participating. We find that Ukraine flag emoji prevalence in both names and bios increased many-fold in late February 2022, with it becoming the 11th most prevalent emoji in bios and the 3rd most prevalent emoji in names during March. We also find evidence that users who display the flag in their bio or name are more likely to follow and be followed by others who also do so, as compared to users who do not. Finally, we observe that users who share politically left-leaning messages were most likely to display the emoji. Those who share account information from alternative social media sites and non-personal accounts appear least likely. These findings give us insight into how users participate in Identity Activism, what connections exist between participating users, and, in this particular case, what types of users participate.</p> Margot Hare Jason Jones Copyright (c) 2023 Margot A. Hare, Jason J. Jones https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 2023-03-11 2023-03-11 3 10.51685/jqd.2023.005