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Diffusion Patterns of Political Content Over Social Networks

Politics and Technology in the Post-Truth Era

ISBN: 978-1-78756-984-3, eISBN: 978-1-78756-983-6

Publication date: 7 May 2019

Abstract

In the last few years, information and communication technologies (ICTs) and social media have become increasingly relevant to politicians and political parties alike, often used to issue statements or campaigning, among others. At the same time, many citizens have become more involved in politics, partly due to the highly interactive and social environments that the social networking services (SNS) provide. Political events flow through these networks, influencing their users; such events, however, often start offline (outside the online platform) and are, therefore, hard to track. Event studies, a methodology often used in financial and economic studies, can be translated to social networks to help modeling the effect of external events in the network. In the present case, the event study methodology is applied to two sample cases: the tariff war between the United States and China, with multiple responses and retaliations from both sides, and the Brexit referendum. In both cases, the Twitter social networks that arise from users who discuss the respective subjects are analyzed to examine how political events shape and modify the network. Results show how event studies, combined with the possibilities offered by the ICTs both in data retrieval and analysis, can be applied to understand the effect of external political events, allowing researchers to quantitatively track, observe, and analyze the spread of political information over social network platforms. This is a first step toward obtaining a better understanding on how political messages are diffused over social networks and their effects in the network structures and behaviors.

Keywords

Citation

Mora-Cantallops, M., Yan, Z. and Sánchez-Alonso, S. (2019), "Diffusion Patterns of Political Content Over Social Networks", Visvizi, A. and Lytras, M.D. (Ed.) Politics and Technology in the Post-Truth Era (Emerald Studies in Politics and Technology), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 23-42. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78756-983-620191003

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Marçal Mora-Cantallops, Zhengqi Yan, Salvador Sánchez-Alonso