Discussing controversial issues on social media : examining the role of affordances, fear of isolation and de-individuation
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This dissertation sought to answer whether people more free to express their opinions on controversial topics on Twitter versus Facebook? Three specific affordances support this question: the networks people engage with on each platform, how identifiable they are to other users, and the visibility of their posts (Treem & Leonardi, 2012). In this dissertation, I draw from three related theoretical frameworks to support my argument: the spiral of silence (SOS), the social identity model of deindividuation effects (SIDE), and affordances theory. The results suggested that there were significant differences between Twitter and Facebook in terms of one’s willingness to express opinion. In summary people were more likely to express their opinion on Twitter than Facebook when they think the majority does not support their opinion.