Just Published! Social Media, Flames & Satisfaction with Democracy


Flames and Debates: Do Social Media Affect Satisfaction
with Democracy?

Social Indicators Research (Journal IF: 1.395)

Co-author: Vincenzo Memoli

Replication material: andreaceron.com/publications


What is worth remembering:

  • Internet usage and consumption of news on Internet are two different things
  • Internet users that consume news from social media are less satisfied with democracy
  • Internet users that consume news from social media are less satisfied with democracy, particularly when they are surrounded by users retaining different views
  • The interactivity of SNS can generate flames!
  • Internet users that consume news from online traditional media are more satisfied with democracy


Media plays an important role in defining the quality of democracy in consolidated democracy. Internet, in turn, can wield effects on democracy and many scholars have investigated such relationship. Moving from this literature we use Eurobarometer data to estimate the effect of Internet on the satisfaction with the functioning of democracy among European citizens. The results show that Internet usage, per se, has no effect on the satisfaction with democracy. However, the consumption of online news can make the difference, even though this effect is positive when users consume news from online traditional media while social media has a negative effect, which is mediated by the level of online disagreement and the potential emergence of flames.