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Posting for Consensus, Sharing Consensus. The Case of Migrants on Facebook, Ideological Views and Echo Chambers


This study analyses posts and comments on a popular social network (Facebook) in order to investigate how web-users take advantage of participative platforms to post ideologically-driven comments, and how the exchanges create echo chambers. In particular, the study addresses populism expressed in online debates concerning migrants and used as a pretext to show group identities and ideologies. Facebook is thus taken as an example and considered a participatory platform (Boyd 2014) of political (populist) activism and the milieu for consensus-finding. The dialogic structure of comments is studied within Conversation Analysis adapted to online written texts (Antaki et al. 2005; Giles et al. 2015) as participative writings. The content of the posts is studied according to the proximisation theory (Cap 2013; 2017), to show how political/public actors seek legitimation by addressing virtual external threats. As a result, the paper increases our understanding of the participatory framework as the ground where opposing groups interact and where people build a personal confirmation niche (Quattrociocchi and Vicini 2016), which represents a relevant barrier to a critical discourse attitude.