Events Presentation

Vox Populi(st): Contexts and consequences of populism in user comments on news media Facebook pages

On December 13, 2023, Daniel Thiele (Freie Universität Berlin & Weizenbaum Institute, Berlin) presented his research titled “Vox Populi(st): Contexts and Consequences of Populism in User Comments on News Media Facebook Pages” at the Helsinki Conference on Emotions, Populism and Polarization at the University of Helsinki.

The conference was organized by the Helsinki Hub on Emotions, Populism and Polarisation (HEPPsinki) and attracted a diverse group of international researchers at various career stages, exploring populist mobilization in time and space, (de)radicalization, pandemic endurance, and datafication focusing particularly on interpretive and discourse theoretical research in an interdisciplinary context.

On the conference’s final day, Daniel Thiele presented an overview over the three studies included in his dissertation. The studies explore contexts and consequences of citizen-generated populism in user comments on news media Facebook pages. Daniel’s findings show that populism in user comments has been associated with coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, are associated with restrictive pandemic containment policies in some countries, and occur more often on pages of public broadcasters. Moreover, Daniel found that populist comments can impair the deliberative quality of replying comments.

We express our appreciation to the HEPP research group and the University of Helsinki for organizing this event, fostering dialogue among academic researchers.