Social media and the changing information environment: Sentiment differences in read versus recirculated news content Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2020

start page

  • 195

end page

  • 215


  • S1


  • 84

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0033-362X


  • There is reason to believe that an increasing proportion of the news consumers receive is not from news producers directly but is recirculated through social network sites and email by ordinary citizens. This may produce some fundamental changes in the information environment, but the data to examine this possibility have thus far been relatively limited. In the current paper, we examine the changing information environment by leveraging a body of data on the frequency of (a) views, and recirculations through (b) Twitter, (c) Facebook, and (d) email of New York Times stories. We expect that the distribution of sentiment (positive-negative) in news stories will shift in a positive direction as we move from (a) to (d), based in large part on the literatures on self-presentation and imagined audiences. Our findings support this expectation and have important implications for the information contexts increasingly shaping public opinion.