Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Kelly Page Werder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelli Burns, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.


Political Communication, Situational Crisis Communication Theory, Social Media


This study investigated the Facebook posts made by presidential candidates Donald J. Trump and Joe Biden during the crisis that emerged after 2020 presidential election. The purpose of the study is to gain a better understanding of how crisis response is enacted via social media. This study's conceptual basis is the Social Crisis Communication Theory. The crisis, which is the focus of the study, was limited to the post-election process, which started with the allegations of Donald Trump alleged fraud in the election, after the 3 November 2020 US presidential elections, and especially to the process that resulted in the capital protests in January. 6. First, the concept of crisis was examined within the context of the Situational Crisis Communication Theory, and the significance of social media in crisis communication was highlighted. In the study, the leaders' official Facebook sites were analyzed for crisis. Within the crisis process specified in the study, 150 Facebook posts shared by Joe Biden, 241 Facebook posts shared by Donald J. Trump were analyzed within the framework of situational crisis communication theory, within which crisis cluster the leaders evaluated the crisis and what kind of crisis response strategy they developed, analyzed by quantitative analysis method. In addition, the themes of social media posts were analyzed in the context of political discourse and the reactions of the followers to the posts of the leaders were examined.