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Facebook Discourse Analysis of US President Donald Trump

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Abstract

SNSs, such as Facebook, focus all their attention more on politician communication than institutional communication (political party, government, parliament, presidency, etc.), which encourages the implementation of communication strategies for personalized campaigns. Thus, most of the times, one can reach the paradox that the image of the politicians is more visible than the image of the party, and the personalized aspects of the strategy of the political actor can even contradict the strategies of the communication structures of the political parties. Personalized communication in social media is also highlighted by the use of tagging, most political leaders using this tool to create image links with other political personalities or civil society (ministers, political groups of the same political party, political activists or even political opponents), seeking so that the original post is reproduced and disseminated by those mentioned, in their social groups, forming conversation communities with users that confirm existing convictions. This study focused on analyzing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that facilitate Social Media Communication of Donald Trump, the President of United States of America (number of fans, types of posts, interactions etc.) and analyzing Donald Trump's Facebook speech and identify the most commonly used expressions in Social Media during the term of President. The monitoring period is 20.01.2017 - 16.08.2019.
Facebook Discourse Analysis of US President Donald Trump
Assist. Prof. PhD. Tănase Tasențe
“Ovidius” University of Constanța, Romania
office@pluscommunication.eu
Abstract. SNSs, such as Facebook, focus all their attention more on politician communication
than institutional communication (political party, government, parliament, presidency, etc.),
which encourages the implementation of communication strategies for personalized campaigns.
Thus, most of the times, one can reach the paradox that the image of the politicians is more
visible than the image of the party, and the personalized aspects of the strategy of the political
actor can even contradict the strategies of the communication structures of the political parties.
Personalized communication in social media is also highlighted by the use of tagging, most
political leaders using this tool to create image links with other political personalities or civil
society (ministers, political groups of the same political party, political activists or even political
opponents), seeking so that the original post is reproduced and disseminated by those mentioned,
in their social groups, forming conversation communities with users that confirm existing
convictions. This study focused on analyzing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that
facilitate Social Media Communication of Donald Trump, the President of United States of
America (number of fans, types of posts, interactions etc.) and analyzing Donald Trump's
Facebook speech and identify the most commonly used expressions in Social Media during the
term of President. The monitoring period is 20.01.2017 - 16.08.2019.
Keywords. Donald Trump, US President, Social Media Communication, Web 2.0, online
reactions, Facebook
1 Introduction
With the incorporation of SNSs into the strategies of political communication, the top-
down model of unidirectional message reproduction and without the possibility of interaction
between the protagonists and the recipients of the published contents entered into discussion. If
in this traditional scheme, only politicians and political parties were able to put their voice in
the public sphere, using traditional means of communication, the broad universe of social
networks came to offer tools to change this paradigm from a communication
Thus, online social networks, such as Facebook, focus all their attention more on
politician communication than institutional communication (political party, government,
parliament, presidency, etc.), which encourages the implementation of communication
strategies for personalized campaigns. Thus, most of the times, one can reach the paradox that
the image of the politicians is more visible than the image of the party, and the personalized
aspects of the strategy of the political actor can even contradict the strategies of the
communication structures of the political parties.
Although it is assumed that SNSs will differentiate at the mechanism level from the
classical communication channels, offering a much greater openness for debate, recent studies
indicate that political leaders not only do not encourage conversation with their followers
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ISSN: 2668-7798
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(Amado, Tarullo, 2016; Graham et al., 2014; Waisbord, 2015) but also that the communication
they star in social networks does not promote the inclusion of new voices in discussions on
public affairs (Calvo, Aruguete, 2018).
Moreover, according to a study by Raquel Tarullo (2018), it shows "a contradictory
use of social networks that, although it allows political leaders to include in the communication
to the addressee from the use of tags, links to other pages, hashtags and sharing publications
originating from the walls of Other users' accounts to promote interaction, the nature of
hashtags, tags and links to other pages approximates a reproduction of the communicative
behavior that leaders star in traditional media". At the same time, it is shown that without a
search for conversation or interaction based on the limited inclusion of the engagement features
offered by Facebook, leaders replicate a model of personalist political communication,
centralized in the leader's own figure.
Personalized communication in social media is also highlighted by the use of tagging,
most political leaders using this tool to create image links with other political personalities or
civil society (ministers, political groups of the same political party, political activists or even
political opponents), seeking so that the original post is reproduced and disseminated by those
mentioned, in their social groups, forming conversation communities with users that confirm
existing convictions.
The same hypothesis was also demonstrated by Maria Pilgun and Galina
Gradoselskaya (2015), who showed after a large study conducted in Russia that: (1) Politically
active actors in Facebook are distributed in several clusters according to the political
affiliations; (2) Communicative interaction between different clusters has the nature of conflict
and (3) Proficiency level of sociolinguistic resources does not depend on belonging to certain
cluster.
2 Analysis of Donald Trump's Facebook speech (January 20, 2017 - August 16,
2019)
2.1. Research objectives
O1: Analyzing the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that facilitate Social Media
Communication of Donald Trump, the President of United States of America (number of fans,
types of posts, interactions etc.)
O2: Analyzing Donald Trump's Facebook speech and identify the most commonly
used expressions in Social Media during the term of President
2.2. Methodology
To achieve the research objectives, we will use both quantitative and qualitative
methods. Thus, we will analyze the key performance indicators (KPIs) that facilitate Donald
Trump’s online communication, namely: the number of fans, the number of daily posts, the
engagement rate, the dominant reactions, etc. At the same time, using the text analysis platform
- https://www.online-utility.org/text/analyzer.jsp - we will centralize and analyze the most
commonly used words and expressions on Donald Trump's Facebook, in order to determines
the communication directions used during the term of president. The monitoring period is
20.01.2017 - 16.08.2019.
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2.3. Centralization and data analysis
Evolution of the number of the fans and the reactions of the fans
With the takeover of the President of the United States of America, on January 20,
2017, Donald J. Trump experienced an exponential increase in the number of fans on Facebook
- from 18 million fans on January 20, 2017 to 21. millions of fans on February 22, 2017. Since
then, the evolution of the number of fans has been constant, on August 16, 2019, Donald
Trump's Facebook page has registered almost 24.3 million fans. Thus, we can see that in the
first month of office (January 20, 2017 - February 22, 2017), Donald Trump increased by 3
million fans, and during February 23, 2017 - August 16, 2019 (2 years and 6 months), an
increase of 3.3 million fans.
During the monitored period (January 20, 2017 - August 16, 2019), Donald Trump
posted on his Facebook page 5,007 posts, of which: 36.9% video, 30.5% photos, 18.5% status,
14% links. The advertising activity was intense, the rate being 10 posts per day, and the
relatively high engagement rate, 2.7%.
Type
Total
Avg.
Reactions
Avg.
Comments
Avg. Shares
Status
927
54,349
6,370
4,429
Pictures
1,529
57,542
5,782
6,806
Links
703
34,856
3,829
4,713
Videos
1,848
41,621
6,810
7,220
Total
5,007
47,890
5,996
6,225
Text analyzer most frequent phrases used by Donald Trump
For analysis, we will only consider expressions that contain at most 4 words, to
determine the key messages most commonly used in Donald Trump's Facebook speech. During
the mentioned period, in the 5,007 posts, Donald Trump uses 147,664 words, which means, on
average, 29.5 words per post and a number of 11,802 sentences, which represents an average
of 2.36 sentences per post (relatively long posts).
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The Democrats, Donald Trump's opposition party, appear in the president's speech, on
the Facebook page, 429 times (in 413 posts) out of a total of 5,007 posts (8.57%), and his party,
Republicans, 109 times out of a total of 5,007 posts (2.18%). Moreover, most often we can see
the term Democrats mentioned in the following expressions: "the radical democrats" (22 times),
"the democrats wasted 2 years and $25 million" (3 times), "could not be more clear democrats
produce mobs" (3 times) or "the democrats raised millions off a lie" (3 times). On the other
hand, Donald Trump most often mentions the term Republicans in the following terms: "with
republican members of the senate" (10 times) and "a vote for republicans is a vote" (4 times).
Words
Likes
Comments
Shares
Love
Haha
Wow
Sorry
Anger
Democrats
35247
5647
6463
3813
1211
249
328
1490
Republicans
38789
6312
5018
4459
1049
169
267
827
Republicans &
Democrats
39762
6310
5719
4595
932
189
228
995
When he used the term "Democrats" in his posts, we can see an average interaction
rate of 0.23% and an average of the reactions, as follows: 35,247 likes per post, 5,647 comments
per post, 6,463 shares per post, 3,813 love, 1,211 haha, 249 wow, 328 sorry and 1,490 anger .
On the other hand, the term "Republicans" generated an average interaction rate of
0.25% and an average of reactions, as follows: 38,789 likes per post, 6,312 comments, 5,018
shares, 4,459 love reactions, 1,049 haha, 169 wow, 267 sorry and 827 anger.
Both parties - "Democrats" and "Republicans" - are used in the same posting, in 41 of
the cases, generating an interaction rate of 0.26%. At the same time, the average fan reaction
per post is as follows: 39,762 likes, 6,310 comments, 5,719 shares, 4,595 love, 932 haha, 189
wow, 228 sorry and 995 anger.
From the chart above, we can see that when he used the term "democrats", there was
a negative reaction among the fans (anger, sorry and haha), and when he used the term
"republicans", love reactions are more common. On the other hand, stronger interaction is
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when, in the same posts, both terms - "Republicans" and "Democrats" are used. In this case, we
can see an increase in the rate of likes and loves.
No.
Top phrases containing 4 words (without punctuation marks)
Occurrences
1.
make america great again
133
2.
of the united states
67
3.
at the white house
64
4.
vice president mike pence
60
5.
trump's schedule for wednesday
60
6.
trump's schedule for tuesday
56
7.
the fake news media
56
8.
first lady melania trump
54
9.
join me live in
54
10.
· travel to washington
52
11.
trump's schedule for thursday
52
12.
for a #maga rally
50
13.
travel to washington d
50
14.
meeting with secretary of
50
15.
trump's tentative schedule for
49
16.
crowd for a #maga
49
17.
great crowd for a
49
18.
with the secretary of
48
19.
with vice president mike
48
20.
trump's schedule for friday
46
21.
bilateral meeting with the
45
22.
to the white house
42
23.
america great again rally
42
24.
in the history of
42
25.
for the american people
41
26.
trump's schedule for monday
41
27.
with secretary of state
41
28.
with the president of
40
29.
the prime minister of
39
30.
· meeting with secretary
39
31.
expanded bilateral meeting with
39
32.
receives daily intelligence briefing
39
33.
meeting with prime minister
38
34.
lunch with vice president
36
Viewed from the perspective of the topics most commonly used in the Social Media
discourse, we can see that the slogan in the electoral campaign - "Make America great again"
was retained during the term of office, being used in 133 posts, and the abbreviation of the
slogan - "MAGA rally" - in 50 posts. On the other hand, we can see that the communicators are
posting the President's program for each day, and most often we can see posts in which the
program is mentioned on Wednesday (60 mentions), on Tuesday (56 mentions), on Thursday (
52 mentions) and Friday (46 mentions). At the same time, US Vice President Mike Pence is
mentioned by Donald Trump in 60 posts and First Lady Melania Trump in 54 posts. The topic
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of the campaigns regarding "fake news" is mentioned during the term of President, in 56 posts,
and the invitation to follow the live made on Facebook appears in 54 posts.
3 Conclusions
Social Media has managed to give a strong voice to the politicians, who cannot be
restrained by the censorship of traditional media institutions. Moreover, we can see that
Facebook pages have managed, at many times, to be stronger than traditional media channels.
For example, Donald Trump has managed to exponentially increase the number of fans on
Facebook immediately after taking the Presidency, and his videos have generated even 11.3
million views
1
, in the context where, for example, Fox News manages to have a prime time
audience of 2,446,000 total views
2
.
At the same time, we can see that Donald Trump uses his strategy of attacking
opponents more often than posts that present his Administration's achievements or mention the
Republican Party. Thus, from our study, we observe that the US President mentions the
opposition party 4 times more often (in posts in which he attacks them - eg "the radical
democrats", "the democrats wasted 2 years and $25 million", "could not be more clear
Democrats produce mobs" or "the Democrats Raised millions off the lie") compared with posts
in which he mentions Republicans. Looking at the reactions of the public, we can see that when
he mentions his opposition party - Democrats - there are many negative reactions to them
(anger, sorry, haha and negative comments), and when the Republican activities are mentioned,
the dominant emotions are positive (love and like).
Also, Donald Trump continues the communication strategy during the campaign and
during the term of President, often using the slogan "Make America Great Again" or shortened
"MAGA". We can often see that the public communication strategies are often published on
Facebook by the President's daily program, thus highlighting the transparency, as a primary
value, of the Donald Trump Administration, but also promoting joint activities with First Lady
Melania Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence.
4 References
[1] Amado, A., Tarullo, R. (2016). “Las redes sociales en la comunicación política:
¿comunicación unidireccional o conversacional?” Contratexto. 0(24), 97-111.
[2] Aruguete, N., Calvo, E. (2018). "Time to #protest: Selective exposure, cascading
activation, and framing in social media". Journal of Communication, 68(3), 480-502.
[3] Graham, T., Broersma, M., Hazelhoff, K., y Van ’t Haar, G. (2013). "Between
broadcasting messages and interacting with voters: The use of Twitter during the 2010
UK general election campaign". Information, Communication & Society, 16(5), 692-
716.
[4] Waisbord, S. (2015). “United and fragmented: Communication and media studies in
Latin America”. Journal of Latin American Communication Research, 4(1), 1-23.
[5] Tarullo, R. (2019). “The strategic use of interaction in the communication of
argentinean politicans in Facebook”. Global Media Journal
[6] Pilgun, M., Gradoselskaya, G. (2015). “Political communication on facebook: Russian
Сase”. Revista Latina de Comunicacion Social.
1
http://www.facebook.com/153080620724/posts/10158514034445725
2
https://www.adweek.com/tvnewser/q1-2019-ratings-fox-news-continues-its-reign-as-cables-most-watched-
network/398384/
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Article
Social media have become an essential means of transmitting information and have transformed the concept of political communication, enabling new audiences to easily select any topic. This has allowed both public and private television networks to provide multiscreen coverage of electoral campaigns while encouraging conversation and debate among users. The content of RTVE’s social networks before, during, and after the televised electoral debate on 4 November 2019 (before the general election of 10 November 2019) was analyzed. The presence of conversation and interaction among the audiences was also examined, namely that originating from the general Facebook and Twitter accounts of RTVE’s social media (La 1 de TVE, La 2 de TVE, RTVE, Canal 24 Horas, and TVE Internacional). Additionally, those showing specifically informative content (Telediario de TVE and Los desayunos de TVE) were also scrutinized. After extracting the publications, those that both related to the debate and generated significant user engagement were selected to compare the topics from the televised debate with other topics that were most widely featured on social media. The results revealed that much more content and a higher level of interest in the debate were found on Twitter accounts, while Facebook was the most neglected by the television station. The RTVE and Canal 24h channels topped the list for both social networks, as did the news broadcast on Twitter in terms of specific content related to the debate, compared with the general interest accounts owned by the television station. Furthermore, the irrelevance of the content broadcast on social media becomes apparent through the lack of dialog and interaction between the audience and accounts. Moreover, the marginal flow of “debate on debate” among the users is evident. Resumen Las redes sociales se han convertido en un medio imprescindible de información y han modificado el concepto de comunicación política, facilitando la selección temática por parte de las nuevas audiencias. Esto ha permitido que televisiones públicas y privadas realicen una cobertura multipantalla de las campañas electorales y, a su vez, posibiliten el diálogo y debate entre los usuarios. Se analiza el contenido de las redes sociales de RTVE antes, durante y después del debate electoral televisado del 4 de noviembre (ante las elecciones generales del 10N de 2019), así como la existencia de conversación e interacción entre las audiencias, en concreto, en las redes sociales Facebook y Twitter de los perfiles generales de RTVE (La 1 de TVE, La 2 de TVE, RTVE, Canal 24 horas y, TVE Internacional), además de los de contenido específicamente informativo (Telediario de TVE, Los Desayunos de TVE). Tras el vaciado de las publicaciones, se seleccionaron las referidas únicamente al debate y con un mayor engagement, con el fin de comparar los temas del debate televisado con los más destacables en las redes sociales. Los resultados muestran la existencia de un mayor contenido e interés de los perfiles de Twitter, siendo Facebook la menos atendida por parte del canal público. Los canales RTVE y Canal 24h encabezan la lista en ambas redes sociales, así como el Telediario en Twitter, en cuanto a contenidos específicos relacionados con el debate televisado, frente a los perfiles generalistas de la cadena. Además, se pone de manifiesto la unidireccionalidad de los contenidos emitidos en estas redes y la inexistencia de diálogo e interacción entre audiencias y los propios perfiles, así como un flujo de “debate sobre el debate” muy escaso entre los propios usuarios.
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Introduction. Features of political communication in Russian-speaking segment of the Facebook network are analyzed in the article. According to researchers unlike their counterparts in the U.S. and elsewhere, Russian bloggers prefer platforms that combine features typical of blogs with features of social network services like Facebook. The data were collected into a complicated political period (violent events in Ukraine), which is considerably stimulated the activity of the Russian opposition and manipulative processes in the Russian social networks. Objectives. The objectives were: classification of actors in the political groups in the Russian-speaking segment of Facebook and analysis of their sociolinguistic behavior. Method. The interdisciplinary analysis based on scope of politically active groups (N 200) and actors (N 291) during January - May, 2014. Results. Actors were classified by politic opinions into mainstream, oppositional and nationalist Clusters and based on network activity into designers of communication space, manipulators, graphomaniacs and local cluster authors. Their communicative and speech behavior was also analyzed and shown shaped specific virtual identities, which demonstrate distinguished sociolinguistic behavior. Discussion and Conclusion. Today the analysis of communication processes in politically active communities in the network environment is of great importance as the virtual sphere becomes more and more significant for achieve of various political aims both in Russia and around the world. The prospect of an actual study is to identify the ratio of online and off-line communication activity of actors in the political sphere in the Russian segment of Facebook.
Between broadcasting messages and interacting with voters: The use of Twitter during the 2010 UK general election campaign
  • T Graham
  • M Broersma
  • K Hazelhoff
  • G Van 't Haar
Graham, T., Broersma, M., Hazelhoff, K., y Van 't Haar, G. (2013). "Between broadcasting messages and interacting with voters: The use of Twitter during the 2010 UK general election campaign". Information, Communication & Society, 16(5), 692-716.
United and fragmented: Communication and media studies in Latin America
  • S Waisbord
Waisbord, S. (2015). "United and fragmented: Communication and media studies in Latin America". Journal of Latin American Communication Research, 4(1), 1-23.