ISSN: 1550-7521

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Research Article Open Access

How to Get More Likes, Shares and Comments? Factors Influencing User Engagement on Mainstream UAE News Websites


The Internet as a media and communication platform is facilitating the proliferation of digital media content-channelled through websites, news apps designed for mobile devices-challenging the traditional print media and redefining journalism. More sophisticated news websites have been developed providing media users more fulfilling and interactive news experiences. In the post-Web 2.0 era of widespread use of mobile devices, tablets, and social media networks, media consumers have become active players in the news production processes. Media users react to news stories through comments, help in the news production process by sharing media content including photos, videos, text on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. This study of four news websites –,,, – belonging to leading print daily newspapers of the United Arab Emirates, examines the factors that lead to user engagement such as social media sharing and comments on the news websites. Content analysis of 1637 news items collected from the four news websites showed that placement of news on the website, use of multimedia features, news origin and news topics have the significant impact on user engagement as in the form of social media shares, likes, and comments, while the use of hyperlinks has no effect. These findings are discussed along with the limitations of the study and suggestions for future research.

Shujun Jiang* and Ali Rafeeq

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