The Climate of Incivility in Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Social Media Environment

My study describes the atmosphere of incivility in a specific local online setting by looking at the incidence of incivility in the reader comments field of Philippine Daily Inquirer’s (PDI) news website and official Facebook page. Even though studies about online incivility in deliberative intercourse are not new, there is a dearth in scholarly research examining incivility in the context of local online discourse. A total of 5,255 reader comments were gathered from PDI’s top trending news article of the day over a seven-day constructed week sampling, which covered a total of seven top trending news articles selected during September and October 2017. Findings reveal that 76.6% of the total comments contained at least one form of incivility and it was found to be more present during the first 12 hours after an article’s online posting. The most popular forms of incivility across comment levels were character assassination, stand assassination, mockery, and name-calling and were typically directed at others outside the discussion thread. While there was no significant difference between PDI’s website and Facebook page in terms of forms and timeline of incivility, a higher density of incivility was found in its website. Moderation of comments is thus recommended as well as media and information literacy campaigns to address the incidence of online incivility.