Shedding light on the dark social: The connective role of news and journalism in social media communities

Joëlle Swart*, Chris Peters, Marcel Broersma

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Messaging apps and Facebook groups are increasingly significant in everyday life, shaping not only interpersonal communication but also how people orient themselves to public life. These “dark social media” are important spaces for “public connection,” a means for bridging people’s private worlds and everything beyond. This article analyzes how people perceive news on such platforms, focusing on the different roles it plays in key social networks that rely on dark social media for communication. Arguing that the use of these platforms is foremost a social practice, the study employs focus groups with local, work, and leisure-related communities to investigate questions of inclusiveness, engagement, relevance, and constructiveness associated with sharing and discussing news. We find the perceived value of news on dark social media hinges on the control and privacy it provides. Community type was less significant than communicative aims of the group for shaping the uptake of news and journalism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Media & Society
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)4329-4345
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

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