Social media research – methods

This project is an operationalisation of the ideas expressed in the paper “Facebook is changing news”, to be published in Rhodes Journalism Review, 2017 (a draft is available at The research will analyse the news content of people’s Facebook feeds in order to determine the impact false and overly biased news sources have on people’s understanding of the world. The initial stages of the study will simply focus on which news stories are seen by users, and whether these correspond with dominant views on current affairs as presented by a selection of mainstream UK news outlets.

This research will employ the Facebook public API to access individual users’ Facebook feeds (with permission, and fully anonymised) in order to determine the nature and quantity of news material presented within this platform. The data will be extracted by means of a Facebook App, to which users will agree. The data is then anonymised and sent to the research repository.

Analysis will be by content analysis, and comparisons will be made with news accessed through more traditional means, and through comparisons with basic demographic information as gathered by the Facebook app.

The participant information sheet is here.

The actual application is here. 

There is a code repository here. 



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