Shouting at the Wall: Does Negativity Drive Ideological Cross-posting in Brexit Facebook Comments?

Michael Bossetta, Anamaria Dutceac Segesten, Chris Zimmerman, Duje Bonacci

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Using a novel methodological approach to measure emotions in Facebook comments, this Work in Progress (WIP) paper explores the relationship between negative feelings and ideological cross-posting behavior. Using the VoxPopuli data harvester, we collect over 770,000 public Facebook comments1 from the three major political campaign pages active during the Brexit referendum. After sorting users into ideological camps based on their reactions to campaign posts, we then examine their commenting patterns across ideological lines. Using three different methods of sentiment analysis, we identify negative and positive emotions and their fine-grained sub-categories in comments. The analysis reveals one quarter of all comments are cross-ideological posts, with Leave supporters overwhelmingly active in commenting on Remain posts. A comparison across the campaigns shows that Brexiteers are much more likely to express anger than Remainers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th International Conference on Social Media and Society : SMSociety '18
EditorsAnatoliy Gruzd, Jenna Jacobson, Philip Mai, Jeff Hemsley, K. Hazel Kwon, Ravi Vatrapu, Anabel Quan-Haase, Luke Sloan, Jaigris Hodson
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2018
Article number31
ISBN (Print)9781450363341
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventThe 9th International Conference on Social Media & Society. SMSociety 2018 - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 18 Jul 201820 Jul 2018
Conference number: 9


ConferenceThe 9th International Conference on Social Media & Society. SMSociety 2018
LocationCopenhagen Business School
Internet address
SeriesACM International Conference Proceeding Series


  • ACM proceedings
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Emotions
  • Political communication
  • NLP
  • Marketing
  • Facebook

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