Kittens and Jesus : What would remain in a newsless Facebook?

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This paper examines what would remain on Facebook if news content was removed, like the company temporarily did in Australia, in February 2021. Using a corpus of 3.3 million Facebook posts published in French in 2020 in four countries (Belgium, Canada, France and Switzerland), it compares media content to non-media content by submitting the text of the posts to three computational analyses : basic n-gram comparison, χ2 residuals and topic modeling. Two distinct spheres are defined within Facebook content : a “public interest” sphere, made up of media pages, and a “public’s interest” sphere, made up of non-media pages. Religious content and “inspirational” “feel good memes” are found to be most characteristic of a newsless Facebook.

This content has been updated on 13 December 2021 at 13 h 57 min.