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CamforS at ICA 2023

This year’s International Communication Association (ICA) Conference was held from May 25-29 in Toronto, Canada. The CamforS network presented results from their research on digital campaign strategies during the conference. The talk by Simon Kruschinski compared the Facebook advertising strategies of mainstream and populist parties in 10 different countries during the 2019 European Parliamentary election campaign.

CamforS Book

OUT NOW: Our new book entitled „Campaigning on Facebook in the 2019 European Parliament Election. Informing, Interacting with, and Mobilising Voters“ has been published.

Haßler, J., Magin, M., Russmann, U. & Fenoll, V. (Hrsg.). (2021). Campaigning on Facebook in the 2019 European Parliament Election. Palgrave Macmillan.

This book investigates how political parties from 12 European countries used Facebook to inform, interact with and mobilise voters at the 2019 European Parliament election. Following a joint theoretical framework and method, the results of a content analysis of more than 14,000 Facebook posts are presented. Country specific chapters are followed by analyses of European parties’ Facebookcampaigning, the spread of populism and the use of Facebook ads by the parties.The final chapter compares all countries showing that campaigns are more strongly shaped by the national than by the European political context. Facebook is used for campaigning as usual; parties inform and persuade but neglect the platform’s mobilisation and particularly interactive affordances.

“This remarkable book is the outcome of an international collaborative endeavour. It clearly shows that social networks have finally become an integral part of European election campaigns. With its careful methodological design, the study impressively demonstrates the particular value of cross-border comparisons and the need for research to take the national context into account.”

—Christina Holtz-Bacha, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

“A timely and stimulating book covering recent European Parliament elections in twelve nations. The common methodological background produces sound and comparable results, and its comprehensive language and broad scope of cases make this book a perfect fit for researchers, policymakers and citizens attentive to social media’s role in elections.”

—Karolina Koc-Michalska, Audencia Business School, France


Denver 2021

The CamforS network is represented with two presentations at the 71st (Virtual) Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) taking place from 27-31 May 2021. The first presentation is held in the panel “Why Are You So Dirty? New Insights in Negative Campaigning” of the Political Communication Division by Simon Kruschinski and Pawel Baranowski. They present results on how European parties’ engage in negative campaigning and how this is influenced by parties’ ideology and their status as governing versus opposition party at the national level. In the second presentation in the panel “Politics and Social Media: Engagement, Exploitation, and Entertainment” of the Communication & Technology Division, Simon Kruschinski presents results on the extent to which user engagement may contribute to processes of polarization and fragmentation by showing that polarizing topics and styles result in more reactions, comments, and shares. In the presentation it is also explored how users’ receptivity to content-related factors is shaped by country context.


Zurich 2021

Katharina Schlosser presented recent results from CamforS on the personalization of campaign communication during the EP election campaign 2019 at the (virtual) DACH 21 conference in Zurich on April 8, 2021.

As part of a cross-national quantitative content analysis of Facebook posts in the context of the 2019 European elections, we asked the question how the campaign strategies of European and national parties differ in 12 European countries. In this context, we compared information and mobilization elements. Our results show that the overall strategy of all parties was to disseminate information, mobilization calls were used less. A closer look shows that the European parties communicated more align with the concept of “Spitzenkandidaten“ by publishing more information about frontrunners and calls to watch the TV-debates of the “Spitzenkandidaten“. In contrast, the national parties continued to focus on their own election campaigns, more independent of the party’s “Spitzenkandidaten“. All in all, it is apparent that not the entire political family, which includes the European party but also the national parties, seems to be behind the concept of “Spitzenkandidaten“. Since in the end none of the previously nominated “Spitzenkandidaten” was appointed EU Commission President, shows the lesser relevance of the concept as well.


Bucharest 2021

Anna-Katharina Wurst presented a study of the CamforS team on parties‘ Facebook campaign strategies during the 2019 European Parliament election campaign at ECREA’s Political Communication Section Interim Conference 26 -27 March 2021 in Bucharest, Romania (virtual). The study analyzes the extent to which populist and non-populist parties as well as right-wing, left-wing and center parties used the campaign elements of information and mobilization in their Facebook posts. Results show that right-wing and populist parties used more calls for (offline) mobilization and focused more on their own party and representatives than the other parties. Non-populist and center parties tended to integrate information about the EU election in general in their Facebook communication, but without focusing on the European „Spitzenkandidaten“ concept, which indicates that the European idea was supported by the center parties, while the concept of lead candidates was not.


Mainz 2020

Jörg Haßler, Katharina Schlosser and Anna-Katharina Wurst of the bidt junior research group DigiDeMo were represented at the joint Annual Conference 2020 of the „Communication and Politics“ division of DGPuK (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft), the „Politics and Communication“ working group of the German Political Science Association (GPSA) and the „Political Communication“ section of the Swiss Association of Communication an Media Research (SACM) in Mainz. In a poster presentation, Katharina Schlosser – representing DigiDeMo, Melanie Magin and Simon Kruschinski – presented the first results of the analysis of AfD mobilization strategies on Facebook in the campaign for the 2019 European elections, which were then discussed together on the poster.


Valencia 2019

Melanie Magin, Márton Bene, Vicente Fenoll, Darren Lilleker, Andrea Ceron and Jörg Haßler presented the first findings of CamforS at the conference „European Elections 2019: Populism and Euroscepticism“ in Valencia from 20 to 22 November.


Trondheim 12-13 December 2019

On behalf of the whole project team, Melanie Magin presented CamforS as a project and some first findings at the interdisciplinary workshop „The Production of Participation in the Digital World” in Trondheim from 12 to 13 December 2019. Her presentation was entitled “How political parties tried to produce participation in the European Election Campaign 2019. A comparative content analysis of parties’ Facebook campaigns in 12 countries

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