Context Collapse In News

Petter Bae Brandtzaeg, María Ángeles Chaparro Domínguez, Asbjørn Følstad

Abstract


Social media is becoming a much more dynamic power, affecting how news is consumed, shared, and created, including fake news and disinformation. Recent reports show that an increasing number of people consume news via social media on a regular basis. However, the literature offers little systematic guidance on understanding the context of news dissemination in social media and how the social media environment affects users' perceptions and consumption of news. This paper aims to theoretically and empirically interpret emerging news-reading practices and the complex interplay of spatial and temporal conditions in the context of social media. First, to explain peoples’ news consumption via social media, we make use of a well-known concept, context collapse, which was initially used to explain the effects of social media on the social context. Second, to show the implications of context collapse, we empirically analyse and discuss how satirical news that goes viral can be misinterpreted on social media. We find that context collapse in news is not only changing the kind of news stories people read and how they read them but also the ways in which many people interpret news. The present conceptualization of a context collapse in news may guide future research on media and journalism.

Keywords


Audiences, context collapse, news consumption, social media, satire, facebook

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