Giuliano Bobba Franca Roncarolo


This article focuses on the controlled communication that the main Italian political leaders – Silvio Berlusconi, Luigi Di Maio, Pietro Grasso, Giorgia Meloni, Matteo Renzi, Matteo Salvini – published on their Facebook profiles during a period of four weeks before the election day. Taking the 2018 Italian general election campaign as an illustration, this article aims at clarifying whether and to what extent populist communication on Facebook differ from non-populist communication in terms of volume and success. Facebook was selected as the source, since digital politics and social media are becoming increasingly relevant for both political parties and citizens. The article shows that messages containing populist claims have more success (i.e. more ‘likes’) compared to non-populist messages. It also shows that populist posts against the elites or the immigrants are the largest ones, while the more successful ones are those that combines these latter elements with the appeal to the people.