The digital transformation of the public sphere
Recent changes in global politics seem to configure a historical phase dominated by the emergence of populism. The use of social networks in this political cycle, from the UK “Brexit” referendum to the election of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, has been instrumental and controversial, resulting in a fear that the social networks are deteriorating the quality of democracy.
Our work addresses the relationship between social and traditional media and their impact on society and democratic systems. Using topic-modeling techniques, we explore agenda-setting effects in the Twitter debate about electoral events by measuring the Euclidean distance of the topics found in the debate to the ones found in the original media articles shared in the tweets. This way, we hope that our work may serve as a contribution to addressing the societal challenges posed by the transformation of the media environments.