Damian Trilling's research while affiliated with University of Amsterdam and other places

Publications (69)

Preprint
In the contemporary media landscape, with the vast and diverse supply of news, it is increasingly challenging to study such an enormous amount of items without a standardized framework. Although attempts have been made to organize and compare news items on the basis of news values, news genres receive little attention, especially the genres in a ne...
Article
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Political microtargeting is the subject of heated societal debate but not much is known about its effects, especially in non-US contexts. Microtargeting, used by political actors to send citizens tailored messages, could have the potential to overcome barriers that make generic political messages less effective. In this article, we present a small-...
Article
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Recent studies have shown that the stricter content moderation policies imposed by mainstream social networking sites (SNSs) stimulated the growth of low-moderated but relatively open discussion platforms such as Telegram. Despite Telegram’s growing popularity among (deplatformed) digital exiles, and high potential for news dissemination, informati...
Preprint
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Scientists have studied the open ocean’s mesopelagic zone, extending from 200m-1000m depth, for more than 70 years. As renewed interest in this global ecosystem grows, divergent proposals and knowledge claims are being made on its current and future role in supporting human life. We use automated content analysis to identify 13 latent topics about...
Article
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How is political news shared online? This fundamental question for political communication research in today’s news ecology is still poorly understood. In particular, very little is known about whether and how news sharing differs from news viewing. Based on a unique dataset of ≈ 870,000 URLs shared ≈ 100 million times on Facebook, grouped by count...
Article
For many, search engines are crucial gateways to (political) information. While extant research is concerned with algorithmic bias, user choices had been largely neglected. Yet, search queries are the key way in which searchers explicate their information need. Building on framing theory and selective exposure, we argue that queries are ingrained w...
Preprint
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Abstract: How is political news shared online? This fundamental question for political communication research in today's news ecology is still poorly understood. In particular, very little is known how explaining news sharing differs from explaining news viewing. Based on a unique dataset of approximately 870,000$ URLs shared approximately 100 mil...
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The rise of news content on social media has been accompanied by a hope that people with lower socioeconomic status and less interest in political affairs would be “accidentally” exposed to news. By combining tracking and survey data from a Dutch online panel (N = 413), we analyze how political interest, income, and education influence social media...
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During times of crisis or instability, citizens are more reliant on news media as a source of information. We need to better understand which news media people consume, how it changes over time, and whether two important predictors of news use – political interest and news media trust – affect news use during times of crisis. Specifically, we inves...
Article
The aim of the paper is to study the role of Facebook as a source of political information for Polish media users. The study combines a survey, a content analysis of Polish-language news items disseminated through Facebook, and computational methods. Findings revealed that Facebook has already gained a position as a crucial agent of political commu...
Article
Patterns of news consumption are changing drastically. Citizens increasingly rely on social media such as Facebook to read and share political news. With the power of these platforms to expose citizens to political information, the implications for democracy are profound, making understanding what is shared during elections a priority on the resear...
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In this study, we address the role of emotions in political news sharing on Facebook to better understand the complex relationship between journalism, emotions, and politics. Categorizing Facebook Reactions (particularly, the Sad, Angry, Love, and Wow Reactions) according to the discrete emotions model, we evaluate how positive versus negative poli...
Article
This article aims to explain the perceived quality of online news articles. Discovering which elements of a news story influence readers’ perceptions could drive online popularity, which is the paramount factor of digital news readership. This work explores an approach to use tree-based machine learning algorithms to address this problem based on s...
Preprint
The digital traces that people leave through their use of various online platforms provide tremendous opportunities for studying human behavior. However, the collection of these data is hampered by legal, ethical and technical challenges. We present a framework and tool for collecting these data through a data donation platform where consenting par...
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This study examines how female politicians are using Instagram to present themselves to the electorate and how this affects audience engagement. A manual content analysis was conducted to explore how female politicians, compared to male politicians (N = 40), use Instagram in terms of visual self-presentation, the use of masculine and feminine issue...
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Abstract Objective To investigate the applicability of supervised machine learning (SML) to classify health-related webpages as ‘reliable’ or ‘unreliable’ in an automated way. Methods We collected the textual content of 468 different Dutch webpages about early childhood vaccination. Webpages were manually coded as ‘reliable’ or ‘unreliable’ based...
Article
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When comparing media coverage or analysing which content people are exposed to, researchers need to abstract from individual articles. At the same time, aggregating them into broad topics or issues often is too coarse and loses nuance. Both theoretically and methodologically, the analysis of an appropriate intermediate level of aggregation is under...
Article
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How do audiences make sense of and interact with political junk news on Facebook? How does the platform’s “emotional architecture” intervene in these sense-making, interactive processes? What kinds of mediated publics emerge on and through Facebook as a result? We study these questions through topic modeling 40,500 junk news articles, quantitativel...
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Deepfakes are perceived as a powerful form of disinformation. Although many studies have focused on detecting deepfakes, few have measured their effects on political attitudes, and none have studied microtargeting techniques as an amplifier. We argue that microtargeting techniques can amplify the effects of deepfakes, by enabling malicious politica...
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The current study provides a new level of empirical evidence for the nature of ethnic stereotypes in news content by drawing on a sample of more than 3 million Dutch news items. The study’s findings demonstrate that universally accepted dimensions of stereotype content (i.e., low-status and high-threat attributes) can be replicated in news media co...
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With an increasing number of people, especially adolescents, using more private online platforms, such as WhatsApp, for news, an important question for democracy is whether such platforms can facilitate learning about politics and current events. In this study, we examine adolescents’ affective (emotions, feelings), behavioral (actions and behavior...
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The complexity and diversity of today’s media landscape provides many challenges for scholars studying online news consumption. Yet it is unclear how news consumers navigate online. Moving forward, we used a custom-built browser plug-in—passively tracking Dutch online news consumers 24/7—to examine how context (website) and content (news topic) fea...
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How to study media diversity has become a major concern in today’s media landscape. Many expect that algorithmic filtering and a shift of audiences from legacy media to new intermediaries decrease the diversity of news diets, leading to fragmented societies, polarization and spread of misinformation. Different fields, from journalism research to la...
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In recent years, the volume of clickstream and user data collected by news organizations has reached enormous proportions. As a result, news organizations—as well as journalism scholars—face novel methodological challenges to describe and analyze this wealth of information. To move forward, we demonstrate a computational approach to understand the...
Article
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Online journalists are often believed, not least in the industry itself, to follow different professional standards from their print and broadcast colleagues. There is, however, little empirical evidence to support or to refute this perception. This paper intends to help fill that gap by investigating whether offline and online journalists differ i...
Article
Extensive research has been done on how social media have changed democratic society, politics, and public opinion. Social media are often regarded as a mirror of the public that, during political events, provides journalists and academics with a clear image of what position the public has on political issues and which sub-issues it uses to back it...
Article
Extensive research has been done on how social media have changed democratic society, politics, and public opinion. Social media are often regarded as a mirror of the public that, during political events, provides journalists and academics with a clear image of what position the public has on political issues and which sub-issues it uses to back it...
Article
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Today’s online news environment is increasingly characterized by personalized news selections, relying on algorithmic solutions for extracting relevant articles and composing an individual’s news diet. Yet, the impact of such recommendation algorithms on how we consume and perceive news is still understudied. We therefore developed one of the first...
Article
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The current study explores how the cultural distance of ethnic outgroups relative to the ethnic ingroup is related to stereotypical news representations. It does so by drawing on a sample of more than three million Dutch newspaper articles and uses advanced methods of automated content analysis, namely word embeddings. The results show that distant...
Conference Paper
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Uncovering their readers’ perceptions is of key importance for every news media organization to find methods to improve the quality of their product. It has the potential to facilitate journalists’ work in attracting attention and gaining a loyal audience. Discovering which elements of a news story influence readers’ perceptions has been a cross-di...
Preprint
Today’s online news environment is increasingly characterized by personalized news selections, relying on algorithmic solutions for extracting relevant articles and composing an individual’s news diet. Yet, the impact of such recommendation algorithms on how we consume and perceive news is still understudied. We therefore developed one of the first...
Article
Computational Communication Research (CCR) is a new open access journal dedicated to publishing high quality computational research in communication science. This editorial introduction describes the role that we envision for the journal. First, we explain what computational communication science is and why a new journal is needed for this subfield...
Article
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This article investigates whether the notion of a “permanent campaign” characterizes politicians’ Twitter use by analyzing 285,456 tweets by Members of Congress during and after the 2016 US elections. We distinguished a campaign period, a lame duck period, and a routine period. The inclusion of a lame duck period is novel in studies on social netwo...
Preprint
Computational Communication Research (CCR) is a new open access journal dedicated to publishing high quality computational research in communication science. This editorial introduction describes the role that we envision for the journal. First, we explain what computational communication science is and why a new journal is needed for this subfield...
Article
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To pass or not to pass through the news gates? That is a key question with respect to the relationship between large commercial firms and the journalistic outlets that pub­lish news regarding them. Whereas previous research has considered how corporate communication affects media content, the focus of this study is on corporate characteristics (e.g...
Article
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Information distributed via the news media is acknowledged as a potential source of negative beliefs about, and biased behaviors toward, older workers. Focusing on the Netherlands, the current study explains age discrimination claims filed by older workers by investigating the impact of visibility and media stereotypes of older workers in the news...
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Computational communication science (CCS) offers an opportunity to accelerate the scope and pace of discovery in communication research. This article argues that CCS will profit from adopting open science practices by fostering the reusability of data and code. We discuss the goals and challenges related to creating reusable data and code and offer...
Article
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Tailored political messages are increasingly prevalent in election time, but we know little about how people perceive such data-driven and potentially privacy-infringing techniques. This article examines how demographics relate to privacy concerns and attitudes toward “political behavioral targeting” (PBT), how privacy concerns and attitudes toward...
Article
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Prompted by the ongoing development of content personalization by social networks and mainstream news brands, and recent debates about balancing algorithmic and editorial selection, this study explores what audiences think about news selection mechanisms and why. Analysing data from a 26-country survey (N = 53,314), we report the extent to which au...
Article
Employing a number of different standalone programs is a prevalent approach among communication scholars who use computational methods to analyze media content. For instance, a researcher might use a specific program or a paid service to scrape some content from the Web, then use another program to process the resulting data, and finally conduct st...
Article
Samenvatting Inhoudsanalyse is een van de meest gebruikte methoden in de communicatiewetenschap. Door de steeds betere beschikbaarheid van grote hoeveelheden digitale tekstdata groeit de vraag naar geautomatiseerde methoden. We laten zien welke technieken er zijn, in hoeverre ze al zijn toegepast op Nederlandstalige teksten, en welke taalspecifieke...
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In the debate about filter bubbles caused by algorithmic news recommendation, the conceptualization of the two core concepts in this debate, diversity and algorithms, has received little attention in social scientific research. This paper examines the effect of multiple recommender systems on different diversity dimensions. To this end, it maps dif...
Article
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This study investigates the reciprocal relationships between the fluctuation of the closing prices of three companies listed on the Amsterdam exchange index, namely ING, Philips and Shell and online media coverage related to these firms for a period of two years (2014–2015). Automated content analysis methods were employed to analyze sentiment and...
Chapter
This entry describes what so-called Big Data are and how they can be analyzed in communication science and the computational social sciences more broadly. It briefly addresses the epistemological questions around this type of analysis and its historical development in communication science and related disciplines. The entry then moves on to a more...
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We investigate how news values differ between online and print news articles. We hypothesize that print and online articles differ in terms of news values because of differences in the routines used to produce them. Based on a quantitative automated content analysis of N = 762,095 Dutch news items, we show that online news items are more likely to...
Article
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Purpose: This paper aims to shed light on the impact of personalized news media on the shared issue agenda that provides democracies with a set of topics that structure the public debate. The advent of personalized news media that use smart algorithms to tailor the news offer to the user challenges the established way of setting the agenda of such...
Article
SamenvattingAnnotatie Online comments onder nieuwsartikelen kunnen een platform bieden voor een publiek debat, maar bevatten vaak ook een hoge mate van hufterigheid. Met een vergelijking tussen comments op NUjij en Facebook laten we zien dat anonimiteit hufterig gedrag niet bevordert, maar afremt. Tegelijkertijd lijkt de structuur van de weergave v...
Article
People increasingly visit online news sites not directly, but by following links on social network sites. Drawing on news value theory and integrating theories about online identities and self-representation, we develop a concept of shareworthiness, with which we seek to understand how the number of shares an article receives on such sites can be p...
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One of the main lines of reasoning in the contemporary debate on media effects is the notion that selective exposure to congruent information can lead to political polarization. Most studies are correlational, potentially plagued with self-report biases, and cannot demonstrate time order. Even less is known about the mechanisms behind such an effec...
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Some fear that personalised communication can lead to information cocoons or filter bubbles. For instance, a personalised news website could give more prominence to conservative or liberal media items, based on the (assumed) political interests of the user. As a result, users may encounter only a limited range of political ideas. We synthesise empi...
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While Twitter has become an increasingly important platform for public opinion formation, little is known about its use in recent Lat- in American election campaigns. We therefore investigate the case of the presidential elections in Brazil in October 2014, in order to analyze communication structures in actual and para-social inter- actions with p...
Article
Reader comments below online news articles can act as a platform for public discourse, but at the same time are prone to incivil behaviour. While some have argued that anonymity increases incivility, others think that anonymity increases the debate quality. In a multilevel design, we compare 1544 comments that were placed either on NUjij, the comme...
Article
When analyzing digital journalism content, journalism scholars are confronted with a number of substantial differences compared to traditional journalistic content. The sheer amount of data and the unique features of digital content call for the application of valuable new techniques. Various other scholarly fields are already applying computationa...
Article
The question how offline media use is related to online media use has been heavily debated in the last decades. If they are functionally equivalent, then advantages like low costs, rapid publication cycles, and easy access to online news could lead to them displacing offline news. Data from a large-scale survey with detailed questions about media...
Article
Today’s online news environment has made it easy to select outlets covering the topics one is interested in and the political viewpoints one shares. Previous research often examined either the diversity of news content or the audience’s choices. This study of online news use in Austria does both to assess audience selectivity systematically. It fir...
Article
While watching television, more and more citizens comment the program live on social media. This is especially interesting in the case of political debates, as viewers’ comments might not only allow us to tap into public opinion, but they can also be an influential factor of their own and contribute to public discourse. This article analyzes how th...
Article
Twitter, blogs and alternative news sites play an increasingly important role in the realm of news and journalism. Journalists often use Twitter to survey the public opinion and to gather information for their articles. At the same time, there has been an explosive growth of non-journalistic websites that have started to compete with professional n...
Article
In an information-rich environment with ample choice, do citizens still get exposed to what is going on around them in society? Or do they become ‘information hermits’, only interested in their personal hobbies? In contrast to widespread fears, the results of a large-scale survey, representative for the population of the Netherlands, suggest that m...
Article
In today's media landscape with an abundance of news outlets, it is often assumed that news media use becomes increasingly fragmented and polarized. Based on a large-scale survey of the Austrian population, fine-grained patterns of news exposure are explored. Criteria for the interpretation of these patterns as fragmented and polarized are discusse...

Citations

... Doing so will help researchers evaluate the potential limitations of different text analysis techniques and make the most reasonable methodological choice. For example, in a recent study, Simon et al. (2022) applied BERTopic (Grootendorst, 2022) as a dynamic topic modeling technique to explore how topics change over time. ...
... A promising methodology that allows researchers to obtain insights into adolescents' social media content are social media data donation packages (Araujo et al., 2022;van Driel et al., 2022). Data donation packages (DDPs) are the personal archives of social media users that contain all their social media data stored by the platform in question. ...
... Nevertheless, this approach clearly tells us that -regardless of the channel through which the information was received -traditional media played a crucial role in the information diet of Germans, Pakistanis, and Indonesians at the time of the data collection. As such, we found a cross-national stable importance of traditional news media in times of crisis, which extends the existing knowledge of similar findings in the Western context (e.g., Vermeer et al., 2022) based on insights from two Global South countries. ...
... However, OSNs are also prone to structural biases detrimental to democratic decision-making such as information gerrymandering, selective exposure and echo chamber formation [21][22][23][24][25][26][27] . Hypothesis regarding causes of such phenomena range from biases in feed algorithms to users selecting self-similar content [24,28,29] . While studies agree on how these processes threaten healthy public discourse and may lead to increased ideological polarization, the mechanisms in play are still under debate [30] . ...
... Yet, we have comparatively little evidence of this. Recently, Trilling et al. (2022) examined news sharing behaviour in four multi-party systems covering significant variation across countries in Europe. They found that, despite their different media systems and political systems, the underlying processes and sharing patterns in the four countries are remarkably similar. ...
... Some research suggests a general advantage for more emotionally arousing content online (Brady, Wills, Jost, Tucker, & Bavel, 2017;Stieglitz & Dang-Xuan, 2013; but see critiques in; Burton, Cruz, & Hahn, 2021). Other research suggests an advantage for negative content, finding evidence for negativity in online "fake news" articles (Acerbi, 2019), within online "echo chambers" (Asatani, Yamano, Sakaki, & Sakata, 2021;Del Vicario et al., 2016), in tweets about political events (Bellovary, Young, & Goldenberg, 2021;de León & Trilling, 2021;Schöne, Parkinson, & Goldenberg, 2021), in tweets about electoral conspiracy theories (Youngblood et al., 2021) and in tweets about a climate change summit (Hansen, Arvidsson, Nielsen, Colleoni, & Etter, 2011). However, this is not universal, other research has found evidence for positivity bias in the sharing of news content on social media (Bakshy, Hofman, Mason, & Watts, 2011;Trilling, Tolochko, & Burscher, 2017). ...
... Due to the inherent risks of relying on the goodwill of commercial companies for access to societally relevant data, there have been calls and proposals for different models of access to such data (Breuer et al., 2020). One approach that has gained traction recently is collaborating with platform users (Halavais, 2019) through a model typically labeled as "data donation" (Araujo et al., 2021;Boeschoten et al., 2020). When sharing their data with researchers, platform users can and should be given the opportunity to explore and understand their own data. ...
... This adds to marginalization of the female representatives and negative stereotypes that may discourage women from political engagement. Kruikemeier et al. (2021) study how politicians in the Netherlands and the USA employ visual affordances on Instagram. The differences among female and male politicians are minimal, however, the reactions by communities differ substantially. ...
... The input dataset is segregated into train and test subsets, and several papers address the concept of training datasets based on the desired outcome [31][32][33][34]. All the algorithms that use supervised learning approach acquire patterns within the training dataset and subsequently apply them to the test subset with the object of either predicting or classifying an attribute [35][36][37]. Most of the authors described the workflow of a supervised machine learning and, as it also emerged from the review, decision tree, Naïve Bayes, and Support Vector Machines are the most commonly used algorithms [8,[38][39][40][41][42]]. ...
... Users are also more likely to select news that is more salient than others through factors such as ordering (i.e., ordered at the top of the page) and picture size. For instance, Loecherbach et al. (2021) found a strong positioning effect, where articles ordered on the upper left of a 3 Â 3 grid were more likely to be selected than articles on the lower right. Building on nudging theory (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008), I assume that one can design an NRS to nudge (a) the relevance moderator variable through, for instance, highlighting whether a given article mentions a place that is geographically close to the user and (b) the salience moderator variable through systematically varying the order, placement, and size (e.g., picture or font size) of an article. ...