A multiplatform investigation of law enforcement agencies on social media

Yun Huang, Qunfang Wu, Xing Huang, Jennifer Bort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social media plays an important role in the era of e-government. Facebook and Twitter are now widely used by law enforcement agencies to inform the public, communicate and establish partnerships. In this paper, we present a multiplatform investigation of law enforcement agencies on Facebook and Twitter. More specifically, we collected 26,490 Facebook posts and 41,277 Twitter tweets made by 40 U.S. municipal police agencies in 2015. We classified these posts and tweets according to topics related to three social media strategies, i.e., Push, Pull and Networking. We applied quantitative methods to examine the patterns of agencies' posting behavior and user interactions both within and across the two platforms. Our findings provide empirical evidence of how police agencies applied different social media strategies on Facebook and Twitter in their daily practice. We also contribute new knowledge of different public interactions with these agencies on the two platforms and discuss the practical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-196
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Polity
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Community policing
  • Facebook
  • law enforcement
  • multiplatform investigation
  • social media
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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