Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7526-2767

Year of Publication

2020

Degree Name

Master of Science in Community & Leadership Development

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Community and Leadership Development

First Advisor

Dr. Rebekah B. Epps

Abstract

Americans are searching for more information than just cost and quality of their food. Today, consumers are searching for information regarding the production practices and how animals are treated during the process. As consumers do not always have a first-hand source for this information, they are often referring to social media to have their questions answered. Social media has the reputation to negatively influence public perceptions of the agricultural industry. An example of an organization experiencing the consequences of social media influencing public opinion is Fair Oaks Farms. In 2019, an undercover animal rights activist group made accusations of poor animal welfare at Fair Oaks Farms. The purpose of this study is to determine how online media impacted Twitter users’ opinion of Fair Oaks Farms and the welfare of their animals during the video mission of ARM Investigators. Utilizing a convergent mixed methods approach, the researcher conducted a social and sentiment analysis to uncover the impact and attitudes towards Fair Oaks Farms upon the release of these videos. Social Studio, a social listening tool, allowed the researcher to collect tweets directly related to this phenomenon for the analysis. This study determined the videos about Fair Oaks Farms had a negative influence on Twitter users’ perceptions of the farm and the industry. Additionally, this study suggested the impact the media has on public opinion and disseminating information online.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2020.102

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