Assessing algorithmic power and Facebook affordances on users News Feed: encouraging or discouraging users online civic participation?


While state-citizens relations and democratic processes are shaped, datafication continues to transform key aspects of our society across economics, politics and culture. Within this context, question of participation and engagement has rarely been so pertinent. One of the major challenges of datafication is the power of algorithmic systems and the ways are operating, performing, raking and classifying online content. Undoubtedly, the ways that Facebook algorithmic curation infer on users news feed evokes some questions regarding the implications of this last on the kind of news and politics user are exposed and interested in (Thorson, 2019) and the possible synergies with civic participation. It still remains an open question, which are the connections among civic participation and algorithms in users Facebook news feed. Although, ongoing empirical and theoretical research in this field advanced typologies and concepts (Bucher, 2012; Thorson,2019) in order to tackle the relations between algorithmic curation on user’s Facebook news feed with participation, there is still uncertain implications for user’s participation in politics. This article responds to this need by reviewing existing trends within the field using the theory of affordances as a starting point, for facilitating the connection between algorithmic curation of news and politics in users Facebook news feed and understanding the valuable consequences that this might have such as encouraging or discouraging civic participation. At the end, the article attempts to clarify the concepts and meaning around algorithmic power of Facebook and the synergies with participation and advance a broader understanding on how to study this relation.