Online Emotions during the Storming of the U.S. Capitol: Evidence from the Social Media Network Parler
Keywords:Subjectivity in textual data; sentiment analysis; polarity/opinion identification and extraction, linguistic analyses of social media behavior, Qualitative and quantitative studies of social media, Social network analysis; communities identification; expertise and authority discovery
AbstractThe storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 has led to the killing of 5 people and is widely regarded as an attack on democracy. The storming was largely coordinated through social media networks such as Twitter and "Parler". Yet little is known regarding how users interacted on Parler during the storming of the Capitol. In this work, we examine the emotion dynamics on Parler during the storming with regard to heterogeneity across time and users. For this, we segment the user base into different groups (e.g., Trump supporters and QAnon supporters). We use affective computing to infer the emotions in content, thereby allowing us to provide a comprehensive assessment of online emotions. Our evaluation is based on a large-scale dataset from Parler, comprising of 717,300 posts from 144,003 users. We find that the user base responded to the storming of the Capitol with an overall negative sentiment. Akin to this, Trump supporters also expressed a negative sentiment and high levels of unbelief. In contrast to that, QAnon supporters did not express a more negative sentiment during the storming. We further provide a cross-platform analysis and compare the emotion dynamics on Parler and Twitter. Our findings point at a comparatively less negative response to the incidents on Parler compared to Twitter accompanied by higher levels of disapproval and outrage. Our contribution to research is three-fold: (1) We identify online emotions that were characteristic of the storming; (2) we assess emotion dynamics across different user groups on Parler; (3) we compare the emotion dynamics on Parler and Twitter. Thereby, our work offers important implications for actively managing online emotions to prevent similar incidents in the future.
How to Cite
Jakubik, J., Vössing, M., Pröllochs, N., Bär, D., & Feuerriegel, S. (2023). Online Emotions during the Storming of the U.S. Capitol: Evidence from the Social Media Network Parler. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 17(1), 423-434. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v17i1.22157