How Does Facebook Use for Politics Motivate Unfriending and Muting? The Role of Joy on Opinion Self-disclosure After Unfriending


  • Bingbing Zhang Pennsylvania State University
  • Heather Shoenberger Pennsylvania State University


unfriending, Facebook political motivation, motivating reasoning, opinion-disclosure, joy



Motivated reasoning theory posits that individuals constantly engage in directional motivation which lets individuals use defensive strategies to defend their preexisting beliefs or identities.  But how do people feel after they employ defensive strategies to manage political behaviors on Facebook? Results from a national representative sample from Qualtric survey panel (N = 505) showed that the political motivation of Facebook use for politics can impact the consequent management behaviors of exposing to posted political content by others and disclosure of personal opinions on Facebook. Interestingly, individuals who felt joy after unfriending or muting others for political reasons reported they would disclose more on Facebook. This study indicates the important role of political motivation and emotion of joy in the formation of echo chambers on social media.


Author Biographies

Bingbing Zhang, Pennsylvania State University

Bingbing Zhang (M.A., Texas Tech University) currently is a doctoral student in Mass Communications at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests focus on media effects regarding how media messaes impact individuals’ beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Using quantitative method, she looks at the intersection of political communication and media effects.

Heather Shoenberger, Pennsylvania State University

Heather Shoenberger earned her Ph.D. in journalism at the University of Missouri. She also earned a J.D. and M.A. degree in journalism there. Shoenberger earned a B.A. degree at Drury University. Heather Shoenberger currently is assitant professor at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at the Pennsylvania State University. As the advertising and media landscape adapt to evolving innovation, Shoenberger seeks to understand the impact on consumers but also, potential avenues to make media content better, more relevant, and where possible, healthier for consumer consumption.


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