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New Study Reveals If Social Media Is Empowering or Silencing Political Expression

Hey, lots of folks seemed to have noticed that people have been pretty aggressive toward each other online during this presidential campaign. I figure this is probably an important thing to pay attention to, and I'm contributing to specific efforts to help deal with the problem of online harassment.

So, alongside Rad Campaign and Lincoln Park Strategies, I supported a national poll of Americans asking their experiences with social media and political expression online.

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The questions we focused on:

  • Is social media empowering or silencing political expression in the US?
  • Are Americans expressing their opinions about presidential candidates online?
  • Which presidential candidate supporters are most aggressive or threatening online?
  • Should political campaigns stand up against the aggressiveness of their own supporters?

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We took the data we collected, and turned it into an infographic. Here are a few key points that we uncovered:

  • Trump supporters have the worst reputation of being aggressive or threatening online.
  • 1/4 of Americans under 35 have unfriended someone they don't agree with politically on a social network.
  • More people have expressed an opinion about opposition to a presidential candidate than support for a presidential candidate online.
  • Men are more inclined than women to call both Clinton and Sanders supporters very aggressive. Women, however, are more inclined than men to say that Trump supporters are very aggressive.

Check out the full infographic here.

Regardless of your experience of the 2016 Election online, it's important that you actually get out and vote. 93 million eligible citizens did not vote in the 2012 presidential election, and I'd like to see that number decrease.

In a free country like the US, everyone gets a chance to say who runs things. Voting's how we make that happen. When we see 93 million eligible voters staying home, we know something's broken. The electoral system has big problems; let's fix them instead of picking a fight.

What have your experiences been online this election cycle, compared to the results of this poll?

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