Study: Facebook users more likely to react to Congress with ‘anger’ emoji post-2016

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A Pew Research Group study examining Facebook trends found that users of the social media platform were more likely to react using the “anger” emoji to political posts following the 2016 presidential election, a shift from more positive reactions months before.

The study released Wednesday found that in the months leading up to the election, from Feb. 24, 2016, to Election Day, users of the platform were more likely to respond to political posts from members of Congress with the “love” emoji, using it a total of 7.3 million times. The “anger” emoji, by comparison, was used 3.6 million times on congressional posts during that same time period.


After the election, the mood on the website reversed. Between Nov. 9 2016 and July 24, 2017, uses of the “anger” emoji shot up to 14 million, while uses of the “love” emoji remained lower at 12.3 million. Use of the “love” emoji also increased post-election, but at a slower rate, the study found.

“Sad” remained the next popular choice after the election, with 4.8 million uses during that time period. Before the election, users’ third-most common reaction was “wow,” which slid to fourth following President Trump’s victory.

“Likes” still remain the most popular reaction to congressional Facebook posts. Americans “liked” congressional Facebook posts 111 million times in the months prior to the election, while that number increased to 129 million in the period following.

Pew Research Group surveyed a total of 360,173 individual Facebook posts from members of Congress between February 2016 and July 2017 when gathering the data. The data includes posts both on official and unofficial pages, downloaded using the Facebook Graph API.

Tags 2016 presidential election Congress Donald Trump Donald Trump Facebook Hillary Clinton
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