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Bene, Márton; Magin, Melanie ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2545-3594; Haßler, Jörg ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2907-5228; Russmann, Uta ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8684-6976; Lilleker, Darren; Kruschinski, Simon; Jackson, Daniel; Fenoll, Vicente ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5851-4237; Farkas, Xénia; Baranowski, Paweł and Balaban, Delia (2023): Populism in Context: A Cross-Country Investigation of the Facebook Usage of Populist Appeals During the 2019 European Parliament Elections. In: International Journal of Press/Politics [Forthcoming]

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Recent scholarship demonstrated that Facebook is a fertile space for populist political communication as its unmediated and viral nature make populist appeals highly efficient in mobilizing voters. However, less attention has been paid to the way these populist messages appear through political actors’ Facebook communication, and what post- and page-level factors they are associated with. We investigate these questions in the context of the 2019 European Parliament election based on a unique cross-national dataset covering twelve European countries. In this study, we categorized 8,074 Facebook posts published on the main Facebook pages of sixty-seven parties. Our findings show that different populist appeals are used in specific ways. For example, at the post level, anti-elitism is frequently used in relation to economy, labor and social policy, and immigration; people-centric appeals are associated with labor and social policy and used when parties call for action, while out-group messages are not related to other topics beyond immigration. “Ideational populist” communication is more frequently articulated in European level and related to the topics of economy and labor and social policy. At the party level, it seems that there are still sharp differences between populist and non-populist parties in their communication.

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