Abstract: The study examines the Facebook use of elected local politicians over two years in Hungary. To gain insights into the role of local politicians in social-media-based local publics in Hungary, a large-scale data collection has been conducted to capture the Facebook activity of all elected local representatives (mayors and councilors; N = 19,503) from the 3,152 Hungarian municipalities. Our research uncovers the level (adoption, activity) and direct audience (number of followers) of their Facebook activity and shows how these patterns are conditioned by political (party, electoral competitiveness, bandwagon effect) and contextual (size, average income of the population, development level of the local Facebook sphere) factors. We show that local politicians are mostly active in larger municipalities, while a larger proportion of the population can be reached directly in smaller communities. The activity of local politicians is largely driven by political considerations, while demand-side factors are less important.
Keywords: Facebook; Hungary; local politics; local representatives; municipalities; social media