When news media and social media meet: how Facebook users reacted to news stories about a supermarket plastic bag ban

Kim Borg, Jo Lindsay, Jim Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Plastic reduction policies are important for addressing plastic pollution however, the success of such policies relies on establishing new social norms. This study advances knowledge on public expressions of social norms by exploring the interplay between news media and social media in response to a new environmental policy. It is the first study to explore this phenomenon with the explicit aim of identifying and comparing information related to social norms. A content analysis was conducted in relation to the 2018 Australian supermarket plastic bag ban. Results demonstrate how social norms related to a new policy are created, reinforced and expressed in the contemporary media landscape. The interaction between news media and social media offers a window into public expressions of social norms, where social media provides a platform for civic participation in a public and real-time environment in which users can challenge the dominant narrative presented by the news media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3574-3592
Number of pages19
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Content analysis
  • mass media
  • plastic bags
  • policy
  • social media
  • social norms

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