Dr. McGregor’s proposal “Political Identity Ownership” was selected as one of the winners of the Facebook Foundational Integrity Research: Misinformation and Polarization research awards.
The project stems from McGregor’s recent work on the role of identity in electoral communication with Daniel Kreiss and Regina Lawrence. Examining the types of appeals candidates make in the course of an election – with a focus on factual claims and identity appeals – addresses an important gap in existing social science. Scholarship across communication and political science tends to focus on the role of information in democracy. Scholars and reformers are deeply concerned about factual information. However, we suspect that most political ads are not about facts but are instead about mobilizing people’s pre-existing identities. With collaborator Dr. Joseph Czabovsky, McGregor – an assistant professor in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC – will explore how political advertisements on Facebook rely on identity-based messaging: how they define voter identity groups, shape expectations around those identities, and use identity to motivate political supporters.
This research will receive $99,776, one of 25 awards from a pool of more than 1,000 proposals submitted.
You can read more about the project and see the other winners at Facebook’s Announcing the winners of Facebook’s request for proposals on misinformation and polarization post.