Facebook as a Contemporary Public Sphere for Opinion Expression and Participation: Jordan as a Case Study

Abd Allah Sultan Aljalabneh, Ashraf Faleh Alzoubi, Hatem Shlool


Social media has been changing the way Jordanians consume news and engage in politics. The ongoing debate surrounding social media's potential as a public sphere and as a tool for contributing to democracy motivates this paper's inquiry. Drawing on Dahlgren's three dimensions of the Public Sphere, this paper examines a case study in which young Jordanians used Facebook to express their opinions and participate in a news story about the new drafts of the election and political parties' laws in Jordan. This qualitative study utilized semi-structured interviews to investigate students at Zarqa University. The study found that the participants used Facebook to express their voices, stay informed, and engage in news stories. Facebook was found to be a platform that provides news information and enables communication, which leads to participation (the structural dimension). Additionally, the study revealed that Facebook, as a social media platform, provides an unrestricted space for the public to share information and express their voices (the representational dimension). Finally, the study found that the participants primarily engaged with news stories through posting, commenting, or sharing videos but were lacking in offline participation in real-life settings such as seminars, conferences, and public discussions (the interactional dimension).

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/smc.v11i3.5984


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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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