Exploring Facebook comments during the 2016 U.S. presidential election:
This study analyzes political discourse and online commenting behavior surrounding Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s Facebook pages during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It proposes a systematic classification method (support vector machines) to classify supporters with the candidates they supported, according to their Facebook comments. Using theoretical concepts from the functional theory of political campaign discourse (Benoit, 1999) — i.e. acclaims, attacks,defenses — this project applies computational content analysis on Facebook comments to examine what qualities supporters praise about their favorite candidate on Facebook. What frames do they use to attack the opposing candidate and his/her supporters? And how do they defend their preferred candidate and his/her beliefs?