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Trend of Narratives in the Age of Misinformation

Bessi, Alessandro and Zollo, Fabiana and Del Vicario, Michela and Scala, Antonio and Caldarelli, Guido and Quattrociocchi, Walter Trend of Narratives in the Age of Misinformation. Working Paper ArXiv (Submitted)

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Social media enabled a direct path from producer to consumer of contents changing the way users get informed, debate, and shape their worldviews. Such a {\em disintermediation} weakened consensus on social relevant issues in favor of rumors, mistrust, and fomented conspiracy thinking -- e.g., chem-trails inducing global warming, the link between vaccines and autism, or the New World Order conspiracy. In this work, we study through a thorough quantitative analysis how different conspiracy topics are consumed in the Italian Facebook. By means of a semi-automatic topic extraction strategy, we show that the most discussed contents semantically refer to four specific categories: {\em environment}, {\em diet}, {\em health}, and {\em geopolitics}. We find similar patterns by comparing users activity (likes and comments) on posts belonging to different semantic categories. However, if we focus on the lifetime -- i.e., the distance in time between the first and the last comment for each user -- we notice a remarkable difference within narratives -- e.g., users polarized on geopolitics are more persistent in commenting, whereas the less persistent are those focused on diet related topics. Finally, we model users mobility across various topics finding that the more a user is active, the more he is likely to join all topics. Once inside a conspiracy narrative users tend to embrace the overall corpus.

Item Type: Working Paper (Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social and Information Networks, Human-Computer Interaction, Physics and Society
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QC Physics
Research Area: Economics and Institutional Change
Depositing User: Caterina Tangheroni
Date Deposited: 19 May 2015 10:05
Last Modified: 19 May 2015 10:05
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/2683

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