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Facebook is no "great equalizer": A big data approach to gender differences in civic engagement across countries

Abstract

Facebook is expected to facilitate more equal participation in civic engagement across genders and countries. With the use of a big data tool (Wisdom), we explored gender disparities in various Facebook liking practices concerning expressions of civic engagement among 21,706,806 Facebook users in ten countries across Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. We observed distinct patterns with regard to civic and political expressions on Facebook, with males drawn more toward politically and information-oriented liking practices as compared to females. Moreover, females (aged 13–28 years) in Europe and the Americas are more likely than males to support humanitarian aid and environmental issues on Facebook. This latter finding was not evident in Asia and Africa, where males are more active in liking all forms of civic expressions on Facebook. In conclusion, this study shows that the gender differences in civic engagement that exist offline to a large degree are replicated and reinforced on Facebook.

Category

Academic article

Client

  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 210633

Language

English

Affiliation

  • SINTEF Digital / Software and Service Innovation

Year

2017

Published in

Social science computer review

ISSN

0894-4393

Volume

35

Issue

1

Page(s)

103 - 125

View this publication at Cristin