New publication by Homero Gil de Zúñiga, Pablo González-González, and Manuel Goyanes in the journal American Behavioral Scientist.
Pathways to Political Persuasion: Linking Online, Social Media, and Fake News With Political Attitude Change Through Political Discussion
There is a vast research tradition examining the antecedents that lead people to be politically persuaded. However, political opinion and attitude change in social media has received comparatively scarce attention. This study seeks to shed light on this strand of the literature by theoretically advancing and empirically testing a structural equation model linking online social media, and fake news exposure, with political discussion and political persuasion in social media. Drawing on autoregressive causal tests from two waves of US survey panel data collected in 2019 and 2020, our results indicate that online, social media fake news, and political discussion are all positive predictors of individual political attitude change. Furthermore, structural equation tests reveal that online and social media news lead individuals to be exposed to fake news, which, in turn, predict higher levels of political discussion, ultimately facilitating political persuasion in the social media realm. Limitations and further suggestions for future research are also included in the study.