The decades-long Colombian civil war nearly came to an official end with the 2016 Peace Plebiscite, which was ultimately defeated in a narrow vote. This conflict has deeply divided Colombian civil society, and non-political public figures have played a crucial role in structuring debate on the topic. To understand the mechanisms underlying the influence of members of civil society on political discussion, we performed a randomized experiment on Colombian Twitter users shortly before this election. Sampling from a pool of subjects who had been frequently tweeting about the Plebiscite, we tweeted messages that encouraged subjects to consider different aspects of the decision. We varied the identity (a general, a scientist, and a priest) of the accounts we used and the content of the messages we sent. We found little evidence that any of our interventions were successful in persuading subjects to change their attitudes. However, we show that our pro-Peace messages encouraged liberal Colombians to engage in significantly more public deliberation on the subject.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Political Science and International Relations