Social Indicators Research

, Volume 126, Issue 1, pp 225–240 | Cite as

Flames and Debates: Do Social Media Affect Satisfaction with Democracy?

  • Andrea Ceron
  • Vincenzo Memoli


Media plays an important role in defining the quality of democracy in consolidated democracy. Internet, in turn, can wield effects on democracy and many scholars have investigated such relationship. Moving from this literature we use Eurobarometer data to estimate the effect of Internet on the satisfaction with the functioning of democracy among European citizens. The results show that Internet usage, per se, has no effect on the satisfaction with democracy. However, the consumption of online news can make the difference, even though this effect is positive when users consume news from online traditional media while social media has a negative effect, which is mediated by the level of online disagreement and the potential emergence of flames.


Satisfaction with democracy Network heterogeneity Deliberation Traditional media New media Social media 



A previous version of this paper has been presented at the XXIII Ipsa World Congress (19–24 July 2014, Montréal). The authors wish to thank the participants as well as the journal editors and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Political SciencesUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Political and Social SciencesUniversità degli Studi di CataniaCataniaItaly

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