Political Social Media Analysis

We have been working with political scientists at the School of Social and Political Sciences focussing on opinion leadership among users in social networks, as well as the prevalence of electorally unsound events, such as reports of voting malpractice or election-related violence. In particular, during big political events such as the Scottish or EU Referendums, we addressed the question of who influences whom among national and international news producers by analysing the nature of the ties among media companies and media elites on Twitter, and the flow of information across these networks. Our work also studies the evolution of discussed topics on social media over time during elections or referendums, as well as classifying events detected from social media concerned with malpractice or violence. This project is currently being extended with the spread of misinformation online, including rumour, conspiracy and other falsehoods that pose a threat to democratic governance. In particular, the project asks to what extent do we observe political misinformation on social media; what types of misinformation exist; from what source(s) do misinformation arise; and  how and why does misinformation propagate across individuals and communities?

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