A Systematic Content Analysis of the Moral Foundations Featured in Celebrities’, Influencers’, and Athletes’ Instagram Content


Instagram and its famous personae are nowadays an important news source for many users, which may stem from celebrities’ and social media influencers’ (SMIs) repeated engagement with political topics on their otherwise entertainment- or lifestyle-oriented accounts. Yet, to date, no study has systematically investigated the type and framing of this political content. This content analysis examined 1,256 Instagram posts and 2,936 stories of the 59 most popular opinion leaders (19 athletes, 20 celebrities and 20 SMIs) in Western countries, and documented, for the first time, the prevalence of types of political topics and their framing. Results from multilevel analyses suggest that SMIs and athletes are more likely to post lifestyle-oriented political topics, while celebrities engage more with conventional topics. Moreover, political topics appear more often in ephemeral than permanent content. Generic frames were overall rare, but the most dominant frame of political content was the human impact frame.

Mass Communication and Society

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