The role of hidden influentials in the diffusion of online information cascades

Raquel A. Baños, Javier Borge-Holthoefer, Yamir Moreno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)


In a diversified context with multiple social networking sites, heterogeneous activity patterns and different user-user relations, the concept of ‘information cascade’ is all but univocal. Despite the fact that such information cascades can be defined in different ways, it is important to check whether some of the observed patterns are common to diverse contagion processes that take place on modern social media. Here, we explore one type of information cascades, namely, those that are time-constrained, related to two kinds of socially-rooted topics on Twitter. Specifically, we show that in both cases cascades sizes distribute following a fat-tailed distribution and that whether or not a cascade reaches system-wide proportions is mainly given by the presence of so-called hidden influentials. These latter nodes are not the hubs, which on the contrary, often act as firewalls for information spreading. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of complex contagion and, from a practical side, for the identification of efficient spreaders in viral phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalEPJ Data Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Modelling and Simulation

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