GTM-MML4VXJ
Skip to main content

日本語

Japan

  1. Home >
  2. Economic Research >
  3. Publications >
  4. FRI Research Report >
  5. 2018 >
  6. Does the Internet Polarize Society?
    – An Empirical Study based on Panel Data –

Does the Internet Polarize Society?
– An Empirical Study based on Panel Data –

Tatsuo Tanaka, Keio University, Faculty of Economics
Satoshi Hamaya, Fujitsu Research Institute, Economic Research Center
August 2018

ABSTRACT

Two large-scale questionnaire surveys were conducted to verify whether the Internet causes users’ political opinions to become extreme, and society to become polarized. By conducting two surveys on the same individuals, the effect of media use could be measured by ignoring differences of the original personal characteristics of each individual. Through examination by this method, we found little evidence that Internet use leads to polarization. New users of Facebook and Twitter, the two largest social networking services (SNS) on the Internet, showed no tendency to become politically extreme. Furthermore, starting to visit blogs had a moderating effect on respondents. No difference was observed between online news users and TV news viewers, both of whom were observed to grow more extreme. It was not possible to find an example where an individual’s way of using the Internet clearly promoted polarization. Although it seems that the Internet is polarizing society, some other cause needs to be identified to explain the trend.


The full version of this report is available in PDF format below.
This report is only available in Japanese.
Does the Internet Polarize Society? – An Empirical Study based on Panel Data –
August 2018, FRI Research Report No. 462: Tatsuo Tanaka, Satoshi Hamaya


Related research report:
The Unexpected Trap of Connecting: Does the Internet Polarize Public Opinion?
October 2017, FRI Research Report No. 448: Tatsuo Tanaka, Satoshi Hamaya