Nuclear Fear And Loathing – Commenting News About Fukushima Daiichi Disaster On Facebook

Anna Rantasila

Abstract


The triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in March 2011 was major global news, and it galvanized publics both online and offline. Much of the discussion and comments about the disaster that went on in social media was a far cry from the deliberative discourse often associated with public debate. Instead, what surfaced were threads filled with myriad negative emotions: worry, anger, and fierce disagreement – even in Finland, roughly 8000 kilometers removed from Japan. This paper examines Facebook comments on news about the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. In particular, I am interested in how affect circulates in networked publics of social media, and how it may divide publics as well as unite them. The study presented in this paper draws from the concepts of networked and affective publics, and investigates how these concepts come together with the discussion about Fukushima Daiichi on Facebook that was centered on content produced by professional mainstream journalism.


Keywords


News, Social Media, Affect, Networked Publics, Disasters

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