Paper Type

Complete

Abstract

This research explores the lawmakers’ perspective on the problems with social media and causes of these problems. A novel theoretical framework that combines technology affordances and gatekeeping theory is chosen as the theoretical lens for our research. We report results of a mixed method exploration into 24 US Congressional Hearings on the issue of social media. Relevant parts of the transcripts of these hearings are mined to identify the patterns in the text and the latent topics. We used discourse analysis combined with the theory of framing to probe deeper into the text to identify the problems and their causes from the lawmakers’ perspective. Our research reveals that the nature of problematization has changed over time from national security concerns to fairness in public discourse. Causal attribution also evolved from affordances of the users to affordances of the social media firms. Our results contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the dark side of social media from the perspective of a key stakeholder – the State.

Paper Number

1809

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Aug 16th, 12:00 AM

Affordances of Social Media Firms and the Dark Side: The Lawmakers’ Perspective

This research explores the lawmakers’ perspective on the problems with social media and causes of these problems. A novel theoretical framework that combines technology affordances and gatekeeping theory is chosen as the theoretical lens for our research. We report results of a mixed method exploration into 24 US Congressional Hearings on the issue of social media. Relevant parts of the transcripts of these hearings are mined to identify the patterns in the text and the latent topics. We used discourse analysis combined with the theory of framing to probe deeper into the text to identify the problems and their causes from the lawmakers’ perspective. Our research reveals that the nature of problematization has changed over time from national security concerns to fairness in public discourse. Causal attribution also evolved from affordances of the users to affordances of the social media firms. Our results contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the dark side of social media from the perspective of a key stakeholder – the State.

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