Facebook is no "great equalizer": A big data approach to gender differences in civic engagement across countries
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSocial science computer review. 2017, 35 (1), 103-125. 10.1177/0894439315605806
Facebook is expected to facilitate more equal participation in civic engagement across genders and countries. With the use of a big data tool (Wisdom), we explored gender disparities in various Facebook liking practices concerning expressions of civic engagement among 21,706,806 Facebook users in ten countries across Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. We observed distinct patterns with regard to civic and political expressions on Facebook, with males drawn more toward politically and information-oriented liking practices as compared to females. Moreover, females (aged 13–28 years) in Europe and the Americas are more likely than males to support humanitarian aid and environmental issues on Facebook. This latter finding was not evident in Asia and Africa, where males are more active in liking all forms of civic expressions on Facebook. In conclusion, this study shows that the gender differences in civic engagement that exist offline to a large degree are replicated and reinforced on Facebook.