Majority of social media users in Canada avoid talking politics online for fear it might upset another person

Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2018

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Conventional wisdom says don’t discuss politics at social gatherings. With the holiday season upon us and a Canadian Federal election on the horizon, taking heed of this wisdom is even more difficult when you add social media into the mix.

According to a new report released today, a majority (58%) of online Canadian adults are choosing not to post politically charged content on social media because it might upset another person. The report from the Social Media Lab, a research lab based out of the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, says that Canadians are often refraining from sharing, liking or commenting on matters related to politics on social media.

“These findings lent more credence to Canadians’ reputation as a friendly and polite people, even online,” said Anatoliy Gruzd, Director of Research at Ryerson’s Social Media Lab.

The study also found that despite concerns of young voter apathy, young Canadians are more purposeful and active posters on social media than older online Canadian adults, as 56% of online Canadians who are between 18-24 years old are sharing their political opinions on social media. In comparison, 43% of all study participants share political opinions on social media.

 “Young Canadians are more politically active and intentional in their political uses of social media than their older counterparts,” said Elizabeth Dubois, Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa and the lead co-author on this report. “However, it is still unclear whether this will translate into higher voter turnout among this demographic group in future elections in Canada.”

The lead author, Elizabeth Dubois, Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa, is available for interviews on this report and other social media related topics.

For more information:
Isabelle Mailloux-Pulkinghorn
uOttawa media relations
Cell. :613-240-0275

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