In an age where more and more political advertising is moving online, Washington State University researchers have found ads on Facebook use more partisan language than those on TV but are generally less negative.

Travis Ridout.

“One of the findings is that the ads themselves are quite different — you find a lot more negativity on TV than you do on digital advertising but on digital ads, you find more partisanship,” said WSU professor of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and author on the study, Travis Ridout. “The other main finding or the main difference there is that digital advertising is actually less likely to talk about policy issues than is TV advertising.”

Ridout said there are a number of reasons for the disparities between the two mediums, including that the goals for digital advertisements are much more extensive than their televised counterparts. He said while both formats endeavor to persuade viewers to be sympathetic toward a particular point of view, digital ads may also seek to fundraise, gather demographic information or mobilize voters.

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