The Online Communication of Political Parties and their Leaders Reacting to Street Protests in Romania



At the beginning of 2017 massive protests took place on the streets of the biggest cities in Romania, unprecedented in the post-Decembrist history of the country. They were caused by a decree passed by the government that was meant to decriminalize certain offences, including official misconduct. In situations such as social movements on a larger scale, the communication flow on social networking platforms, especially on Facebook, which is the most popular social media platform in Romania, increases exponentially (Tufekci & Wilson, 2012; Valenzuela, 2013). In this context, the present paper focuses on the analysis of the social media communication of the main political parties and their leaders. The communication strategy expressed especially on Facebook is interesting, because it is preferred by a large part of the protest participants (for information regarding Facebook groups of protesters see Adi & Lilleker, 2018). The central question of the present paper revolves around the way in which political parties and leaders communicated during the aforementioned protests. We have carried out a computer-assisted frequency analysis and have analyzed 15 Facebook accounts of the main political parties and their leaders during the period January 18th – March 5th 2017, which corresponds to the period of the protests.

Keywords: Social Media; Official communication; Political parties; Political actors; Credibility

DOI: 10.24193/jmr.34.3