Mapping social dynamics on Facebook: The Brexit debate

Published on Jul 1, 2017in Social Networks
· DOI :10.1016/J.SOCNET.2017.02.002
Michela Del Vicario15
Estimated H-index: 15
Fabiana Zollo18
Estimated H-index: 18
(Ca' Foscari University of Venice)
+ 2 AuthorsWalter Quattrociocchi30
Estimated H-index: 30
Abstract Nowadays users get informed and shape their opinion through social media. However, the disintermediated access to contents does not guarantee quality of information. Selective exposure and confirmation bias, indeed, have been shown to play a pivotal role in content consumption and information spreading. Users tend to select information adhering (and reinforcing) their worldview and to ignore dissenting information. This pattern elicits the formation of polarized groups – i.e., echo chambers – where the interaction with like-minded people might even reinforce polarization. In this work we address news consumption around Brexit in UK on Facebook. In particular, we perform a massive analysis on more than 1 million users interacting with Brexit related posts from the main news providers between January and July 2016. We show that consumption patterns elicit the emergence of two distinct communities of news outlets. Furthermore, to better characterize inner group dynamics, we introduce a new technique which combines automatic topic extraction and sentiment analysis. We compare how the same topics are presented on posts and the related emotional response on comments finding significant differences in both echo chambers and that polarization influences the perception of topics. Our results provide important insights about the determinants of polarization and evolution of core narratives on online debating.
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
690 Citations
5 Citations
100 Citations
#1Telmo Menezes (China Merchants Bank)H-Index: 6
#2Camille Roth (CNRS: Centre national de la recherche scientifique)H-Index: 4
Human mobility is known to be distributed across several orders of magnitude of physical distances , which makes it generally difficult to endogenously find or define typical and meaningful scales. Relevant analyses, from movements to geographical partitions, seem to be relative to some ad-hoc scale, or no scale at all. Relying on geotagged data collected from photo-sharing social media, we apply community detection to movement networks constrained by increasing percentiles of the distance distr...
1,055 CitationsSource
#1Bernadette J. Stolz (University of Oxford)H-Index: 4
#2Heather A. Harrington (University of Oxford)H-Index: 18
Last. Mason A. Porter (University of Oxford)H-Index: 68
view all 3 authors...
Persistent homology is a method from computational algebraic topology that can be used to study the ``shape'' of data. We illustrate two filtrations --- the weight rank clique filtration and the Vietoris--Rips (VR) filtration --- that are commonly used in persistent homology, and we apply these filtrations to a pair of data sets that are both related to the 2016 European Union ``Brexit'' referendum in the United Kingdom. These examples consider a topical situation and give useful illustrations o...
4 CitationsSource
#1Alessandro Bessi (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca)H-Index: 20
#2Fabiana Zollo (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca)H-Index: 18
Last. Walter Quattrociocchi (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca)H-Index: 30
view all 8 authors...
Users online tend to select information that support and adhere their beliefs, and to form polarized groups sharing the same view—e.g. echo chambers. Algorithms for content promotion may favour this phenomenon, by accounting for users preferences and thus limiting the exposure to unsolicited contents. To shade light on this question, we perform a comparative study on how same contents (videos) are consumed on different online social media—i.e. Facebook and YouTube—over a sample of 12M of users. ...
75 CitationsSource
#1Marco Bianchetti (UNIBO: University of Bologna)H-Index: 8
#2Davide Emilio Galli (University of Milan)H-Index: 20
Last. Marco Scaringi (University of Milan)H-Index: 1
view all 5 authors...
We applied the Johansen-Ledoit-Sornette (JLS) model to detect possible bubbles and crashes related to the Brexit/Bremain referendum scheduled for 23rd June 2016. Our implementation includes an enhanced model calibration using Genetic Algorithms. We selected a few historical financial series sensitive to the Brexit/Bremain scenario, representative of multiple asset classes. We found that equity and currency asset classes show no bubble signals, while rates, credit and real estate show super-expon...
2 CitationsSource
Bots are social media accounts that automate interaction with other users, and they are active on the StrongerIn-Brexit conversation happening over Twitter. These automated scripts generate content through these platforms and then interact with people. Political bots are automated accounts that are particularly active on public policy issues, elections, and political crises. In this preliminary study on the use of political bots during the UK referendum on EU membership, we analyze the tweeting ...
90 CitationsSource
#1Walter Quattrociocchi (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)H-Index: 30
#2Antonio ScalaH-Index: 48
Last. Cass R. Sunstein (Harvard University)H-Index: 130
view all 3 authors...
Do echo chambers actually exist on social media? By focusing on how both Italian and US Facebook users relate to two distinct narratives (involving conspiracy theories and science), we offer quantitative evidence that they do. The explanation involves users’ tendency to promote their favored narratives and hence to form polarized groups. Confirmation bias helps to account for users’ decisions about whether to spread content, thus creating informational cascades within identifiable communities. A...
82 CitationsSource
The wide availability of user-provided content in online social media facilitates the aggregation of people around common interests, worldviews, and narratives. However, the World Wide Web (WWW) also allows for the rapid dissemination of unsubstantiated rumors and conspiracy theories that often elicit rapid, large, but naive social responses such as the recent case of Jade Helm 15––where a simple military exercise turned out to be perceived as the beginning of a new civil war in the United State...
690 CitationsSource
#1Fabiana Zollo (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca)H-Index: 18
#2Petra Kralj NovakH-Index: 15
Last. Walter Quattrociocchi (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca)H-Index: 30
view all 8 authors...
According to the World Economic Forum, the diffusion of unsubstantiated rumors on online social media is one of the main threats for our society. The disintermediated paradigm of content production and consumption on online social media might foster the formation of homogeneous communities (echo-chambers) around specific worldviews. Such a scenario has been shown to be a vivid environment for the diffusion of false claim. Not rarely, viral phenomena trigger naive (and funny) social responses—e.g...
88 CitationsSource
#1Nic Newman (University of Oxford)H-Index: 18
#2David A. L. Levy (University of Oxford)H-Index: 8
Last. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (University of Oxford)H-Index: 31
view all 3 authors...
This year's report reveals new insights about digital news consumption based on a YouGov survey of over 20,000 online news consumers in the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Japan and Australia. This year's data shows a quickening of the pace towards social media platforms as routes to audiences, together with a surge in the use of mobile for news, a decline in the desktop internet and significant growth in video news consumption online.
121 CitationsSource
May 18, 2015 in WWW (The Web Conference)
#1Alessandro BessiH-Index: 20
#2Fabio PetroniH-Index: 14
Last. Walter Quattrociocchi (IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca)H-Index: 30
view all 8 authors...
The spreading of unsubstantiated rumors on online social networks (OSN) either unintentionally or intentionally (e.g., for political reasons or even trolling) can have serious consequences such as in the recent case of rumors about Ebola causing disruption to health-care workers. Here we show that indicators aimed at quantifying information consumption patterns might provide important insights about the virality of false claims. In particular, we address the driving forces behind the popularity ...
47 CitationsSource
Cited By74
Abstract null null Social media are often accused of worsening the quality of online debate. In this paper, we focus on group polarization in the context of social media-enabled interaction, a dysfunctional group dynamic by which participants become more extreme in their initial position on an issue. Through a systematic literature review, we identified a corpus of 121 research papers investigating polarization in social media and other online conversational platforms and reviewed the main empir...
#1Tommaso RadicioniH-Index: 3
#2Fabio SaraccoH-Index: 10
Last. Tiziano SquartiniH-Index: 24
view all 0 authors...
Social media play a key role in shaping citizens' political opinion. According to the Eurobarometer, the percentage of EU citizens employing online social networks on a daily basis has increased from 18% in 2010 to 48% in 2019. The entwinement between social media and the unfolding of political dynamics has motivated the interest of researchers for the analysis of users online behavior-with particular emphasis on group polarization during debates and echo-chambers formation. In this context, sem...
1 CitationsSource
On September 2020 a constitutional referendum was held in Italy. In this work we collect a dataset of 1.2M tweets related to this event, with particular interest to the textual content shared, and we design a hashtag-based semi-automatic approach to label them as Supporters or Against the referendum. We use the labelled dataset to train a classifier based on transformers, unsupervisedly pre-trained on Italian corpora. Our model generalizes well on tweets that cannot be labeled by the hashtag-bas...
#1Maria Abreu (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 17
#2Calvin Jones (Cardiff University)H-Index: 18
Abstract The economic plight and consequent social and political attitudes of ‘left behind’ communities have become subjects of intense focus across a world impacted by inequality, social unrest, and political populism. We examine whether particular types of local long-term economic decline affect how residents in different places view the world; here in former mining communities of the UK which remain economically peripheral, and are home to community narratives that emphasise the shared econom...
#2Victor WiardH-Index: 2
Last. Raphaël M. JungersH-Index: 25
view all 7 authors...
Pour repondre a la demultiplication de contenus mediatiques accessibles en ligne, de nombreuses plateformes ont aujourd’hui recours a des algorithmes de recommandation pour structurer et hierarchiser les flux d’information. Ces dispositifs sont critiques pour l’importance qu’ils accordent a la satisfaction immediate de l’utilisateur, menacant la diversite d’opinion accessible au sein d’espaces mediatiques de plus en plus personnalises. En croisant les resultats de recherches en sciences sociales...
#1Ludovic Terren (Open University of Catalonia)H-Index: 1
#2Rosa Borge-Bravo (Open University of Catalonia)
There have been growing concerns regarding the potential impact of social media on democracy and public debate. While some theorists have claimed that ICTs and social media would bring about a new independent public sphere and increase exposure to political divergence, others have warned that they would lead to polarization through the formation of echo chambers. The issue of social media echo chambers is both crucial and widely debated. This article attempts to provide a comprehensive account o...
In this paper, the influence of the social media on the opinion formation process is modeled during an election campaign. In the proposed model, peer- to-peer interactions and targeted online propaganda messages are assumed to be the driving forces of the opinion formation dynamics. The conviction power of the targeted messages is based on the collected and processed private information. In this work, the model is based on an artificial society, initially evenly divided between two parties. The ...
#1Haewon Yoon (IU: Indiana University)H-Index: 5
#2Irene Scopelliti (City University London)H-Index: 8
Last. Carey K. Morewedge (BU: Boston University)H-Index: 27
view all 3 authors...
Abstract Observational learning can debias judgment and decision making. One-shot observational learning-based training interventions (akin to “hot seating”) can produce reductions in cognitive biases in the laboratory (i.e., anchoring, representativeness, and social projection), and successfully teach a decision rule that increases advice taking in a weight on advice paradigm (i.e., the averaging principle). These interventions improve judgment, rule learning, and advice taking more than practi...
#1Hafizh Adi Prasetya (TITech: Tokyo Institute of Technology)H-Index: 2
#2Tsuyoshi Murata (TITech: Tokyo Institute of Technology)H-Index: 17
The issue of polarization in online social media has been gaining attention in recent years amid the changing political landscapes of many parts of the world. Several studies empirically observed the existence of echo chambers in online social media, stimulating a slew of works that tries to model the phenomenon via opinion modeling. Here, we propose a model of opinion dynamics centered around the notion that opinion changes are invoked by news exposure. Our model comes with parameters for opini...
8 CitationsSource