Selected influential users can efficiently spread information on both sides of a controversial discussion.
Social media has become an important news source for a majority of adults. A common complaint is that social media help create echo chambers in which people reading information do not expose themselves to different viewpoints but are often confined to their own. This happens especially with controversial and polarising topics where two viewpoints become so isolated and conflicting viewpoints can emerge that people do not receive or read information that will not reinforce their own opinion.
Researchers from Aalto University and University of Rome Tor Vergata have designed an algorithm that is able to balance the information exposure so that social media users can be exposed to information from both sides of the discussion.
The algorithm uses a greedy algorithm paradigm that aims to find optimal choices at each stage. In this study the algorithm works by efficiently selecting a set of influential users, who can be convinced to spread information about their side to the other side. The goal is to maximize the amount of users exposed to both viewpoints.
Escaping the echo chambers with the help of influential users
“We use word clouds as a qualitative case study to complement our quantitative results, whereby words in the cloud represent the words found in the users’ profiles. For instance, if we look at the topics related to the hashtag #russiagate, we can see not only that the two word clouds that represent the conflicting viewpoints are rather different, but also that they indicate either support or hate for Trump”, describes Aalto University researcher Kiran Garimella.
Similarly, a topic like fracking has two circles of users talking among themselves, strengthening their conflicting campaigns.
“We see in our data that the network is fragmented into two sides, one set of users supporting fracking and using terms such as ‘oil’, ‘energy’, and ‘gas’, and another set of users opposing fracking and using terms such as ‘environmental’, ‘green’, and ‘energy’. There is small overlap in the keywords used by each side, indicading that users are in an echo chamber”, Professor Aristides Gionis adds.
The algorithm helps to identify a small number of influential users who are exposed to both campaigns and have a more balanced viewpoint.
“Examining the content of those users we see that it uses terms from both sides of the discussion. Thus, these users can play a significant role in initiating a social debate and help spreading the arguments of one side to the other,” Garimella concludes.
The Latest on: Balancing social media
Most Americans would give up social media to erase credit card debt
on July 11, 2018 at 8:44 am
Most Americans said in a survey they would give up social media – among other things – to get rid of their debt. Credit card debt has continued to climb over $1 trillion , with the average cardholder ... […]
Media Agencies Conquer Industry Transparency Issues with NetSuite
on July 11, 2018 at 6:32 am
website design and social media marketing. The company prides itself on building successful campaigns for its clients by balancing the creative with the analytical. To help achieve this balance and dr... […]
RACERS SPILL ALL: Luxury items, life without social media and past Amazing Race Canada mentors
on July 10, 2018 at 5:12 pm
If not Cargo zip-off pants for sure! —I enjoyed not having any access to social media while we were gone. Now that I’m back home though, I realized that it is important to have a healthy balance betwe... […]
Sierra Leone News: Social media regulation – a fine line of balance
on July 10, 2018 at 6:16 am
Traditional media avoids slander and libel. But, social media is often treated as nothing but a private conversation. Social media such as WhatsApp and Facebook are popular and are considered media… a... […]
Top prosecutor on leave after offensive social media posts
on July 9, 2018 at 11:06 pm
In one social media post, Selyem lashed out at Rep ... The district attorney said officials tried to balance Selyem's First Amendment rights with the impact his posts could also have on prosecutors in ... […]
Israel’s social media crackdown raises free speech questions
on July 9, 2018 at 9:16 pm
For many Palestinians, the knowledge that Israeli authorities are tracking their social-media activities is seen as just another ... He described having to maintain a balance between upholding securit... […]
Jennifer Ettinger talks fitness, followers, and how to balance both
on July 9, 2018 at 6:08 pm
Below, Jennifer shares what inspires her and how she finds balance. Check back with us here on July 16 ... amplified brand awareness across social media channels. I am also a lover of all things pink! ... […]
The filter of parenthood through the lens of social media
on July 8, 2018 at 4:08 pm
Social media pressurises us to have a flawless life ... between living in the ‘real’ world and the ‘virtual’ world.” There is a very obvious balance to be had here, but one which is not always adhered ... […]
Will LeBron James shift NBA's balance of power? Time will tell
on July 2, 2018 at 1:28 pm
The King is coming. LeBron James agreed to a four-year deal worth $154 million with the Lakers on Sunday, and the world of social media went into a frenzy when the announcement was made. Former and cu... […]
3 Ways to Balance Creativity & Search Optimization in Content
on July 1, 2018 at 10:02 pm
Balancing these things might make even the most creative ... Good sources can be: Quora. Reddit Other social media networks. From these channels, you might get not only the idea of what people are int... […]
via Google News and Bing News