Facebook reactions as heuristics: Exploring relationships between reactions and commenting frequency on news about COVID-19
Keywords:news/press, Facebook, social media, social networking, content analysis
This study explores relationships between Facebook reactions and commenting frequency through the lens of a random sample of broadcast and newspaper news posts (n = 2,632) about COVID-19 in the United States. A main finding is that reactions on COVID-19 news posts in general — and the “like” and “angry” in particular — predict greater likelihood of comments on these posts. The topic of the post also plays an important role in both reactions and commenting frequency, suggesting people use these engagement tools in differing ways. Findings suggest that people may process reactions as heuristic cues that help them assess how much attention to pay to posts on Facebook.
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