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Research Questions

  1. Internet and Participatory Gap: Does the Internet’s widespread use from 2005 to 2020 reduce the participatory gap in politics?
    • Finding: No significant reduction; gender and education remain key participation predictors.
  2. Personal Networks in M5S Recruitment: How does the importance of personal networks evolve with M5S’s popularity?
    • Finding: Personal networks’ role remains stable; importance of social capital, especially political social capital, declines.
  3. Internet for Disadvantaged Groups: Are Internet affordances more critical for politically disadvantaged groups in M5S recruitment and engagement?
    • Finding: Internet is more important for low-education and female participants.


  • Internet affordances have a marginal leveling effect in political participation.
  • This effect might close the participatory gap and escape the social capital trap, contingent on media validation and access through personal networks.