Argument Quality and Deliberation on Facebook: An Exploratory Study
In the past, scholars have argued that deliberation is important for a variety of reasons, including aiding in the development of political sophistication and decreasing attitudinal uncertainty (Gastil and Dillard 1999, 4-5). Engaging in deliberation allows individuals to become more informed about topics, which helps them to make informed decisions. This paper argues that if high argument quality is one requisite for deliberation, then deliberation is not occurring on Facebook due to its users’ low-quality arguments. In order to test this claim, 71 Facebook conversations related to President Trump’s immigration policies were analyzed. Results showed that users’ arguments were generally low quality and confirmed previous research that states that effective deliberation does not occur on social media sites. Potential consequences of these results and avenues for future research are subsequently discussed within this paper.
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