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Partisan asymmetries in online political activity

Authors
  • Conover, Michael D1
  • Gonçalves, Bruno2
  • Flammini, Alessandro1
  • Menczer, Filippo1
  • 1 Indiana University, Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, School of Informatics and Computing, Bloomington, IN, 47408, USA , Bloomington (United States)
  • 2 Northeastern University, College of Computer and Information Sciences, Boston, MA, 02115, USA , Boston (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
EPJ Data Science
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
Jun 18, 2012
Volume
1
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1140/epjds6
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

We examine partisan differences in the behavior, communication patterns and social interactions of more than 18,000 politically-active Twitter users to produce evidence that points to changing levels of partisan engagement with the American online political landscape. Analysis of a network defined by the communication activity of these users in proximity to the 2010 midterm congressional elections reveals a highly segregated, well clustered, partisan community structure. Using cluster membership as a high-fidelity (87% accuracy) proxy for political affiliation, we characterize a wide range of differences in the behavior, communication and social connectivity of left- and right-leaning Twitter users. We find that in contrast to the online political dynamics of the 2008 campaign, right-leaning Twitter users exhibit greater levels of political activity, a more tightly interconnected social structure, and a communication network topology that facilitates the rapid and broad dissemination of political information.

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