A long-term analysis of polarization on Twitter

Venkata Rama Kiran Garimella, Ingmar Weber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social media has played an important role in shaping political discourse over the last decade. It is often perceived to have increased political polarization, thanks to the scale of discussions and their public nature. Here, we try to answer whether political polarization in the US on Twitter has increased over the last eight years. We analyze a large longitudinal Twitter dataset of 679,000 users and look at signs of polarization in their (i) network - how people follow political and media accounts, (ii) tweeting behavior - whether they retweet content from both sides, and (iii) content - how partisan the hashtags they use are. Our analysis shows that online polarization has indeed increased over the past eight years and that, depending on the measure, the relative change is 10%-20%. Our study is one of very few with such a long-term perspective, encompassing two US presidential elections and two mid-term elections, providing a rare longitudinal analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2017
PublisherAAAI press
Pages528-531
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781577357889
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Event11th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2017 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 15 May 201718 May 2017

Other

Other11th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2017
CountryCanada
CityMontreal
Period15/5/1718/5/17

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

Cite this

Garimella, V. R. K., & Weber, I. (2017). A long-term analysis of polarization on Twitter. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Web and Social Media, ICWSM 2017 (pp. 528-531). AAAI press.