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Twitter and Facebook are Not Representative of the General Population: Political Attitudes and Demographics of Social Media Users

13 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2016  

Jonathan Mellon

University of Oxford - Nuffield College; University of Manchester

Christopher Prosser

University of Manchester

Date Written: February 29, 2016

Abstract

A growing social science literature has used Twitter and Facebook to study political and social phenomena including for election forecasting and tracking political conversations. This research note uses a nationally representative probability sample to examine how Twitter and Facebook users differ from the general population in terms of demographics, political attitudes and political behavior. We find that Twitter and Facebook users differ substantially from the general population on many politically relevant dimensions including vote choice, turnout, age, gender, education and region.

Suggested Citation

Mellon, Jonathan and Prosser, Christopher, Twitter and Facebook are Not Representative of the General Population: Political Attitudes and Demographics of Social Media Users (February 29, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2791625 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2791625

Jonathan Mellon (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Nuffield College ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Christopher Prosser

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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