Social Media Network Homophily Among Political Candidates in Multilevel Settings

I Cioroianu, Hilde Coffe, Maxime Vandenberghe

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Our study investigates political candidates’ networks in the multilevel political setting of Belgium. Using Twitter data collected during the four months preceding the May 2019 regional, federal and European elections, we examine the extent to which network homophily–defined as the tendency to interact with similar others–occurs among political candidates along parliament, language and party lines. Relying on a unique dataset of 20 061 retweets between 935 candidates, we find that network interactions are most likely to occur among co-partisans and candidates speaking the same language. Candidates campaigning for the same parliament also tend to retweet among each other, although this tendency is not strong. Overall, the findings confirm the strong divide of Belgian politics along language lines and Belgium’s ‘partitocracy’ in which parties are the main actors in the representation and policy-making process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRegional and Federal Studies
Early online date29 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The first author would like to thank the Politics, Languages and International Studies Department of the University of Bath for the financial support to conduct the project. Previous versions of the paper have been presented at the CLP-GASPAR (Ghent University) research seminar, the 2019 ECPR General Conference and the 2019 ECPR Standing Group on Parliaments Conference. The authors would like to thank all participants for their useful feedback and suggestions.

This work was (partly) funded by the FWO (3F009819).


  • Belgium
  • Social media networks
  • multilevel settings
  • political candidates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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