#Snowden: Understanding biases introduced by behavioral differences of opinion groups on social media

Q. Vera Liao, Wai Tat Fu, Markus Strohmaier

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

    Abstract

    We present a study of 10-month Twitter discussions on the controversial topic of Edward Snowden. We demonstrate how behavioral differences of opinion groups can distort the presence of opinions on a social media platform. By studying the differences between a numerical minority (anti-Snowden) and a majority (pro-Snowden) group, we found that the minority group engaged in a "shared audiencing" practice with more persistent production of original tweets, focusing increasingly on inter-personal interactions with like-minded others. The majority group engaged in a "gatewatching" practice by disseminating information from the group, and over time shifted further from making original comments to retweeting others'. The findings show consistency with previous social science research on how social environment shapes majority and minority group behaviors. We also highlight that they can be further distorted by the collective use of social media design features such as the "retweet" button, by introducing the concept of "amplification" to measure how a design feature biases the voice of an opinion group. Our work presents a warning to not oversimplify analysis of social media data for inferring social opinions.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationCHI 2016 - Proceedings, 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Pages3352-3363
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)9781450333627
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 7 2016
    Event34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016 - San Jose, United States
    Duration: May 7 2016May 12 2016

    Publication series

    NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

    Other

    Other34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CitySan Jose
    Period5/7/165/12/16

    Keywords

    • Bias
    • Controversy
    • Online opinion space
    • Opinion minority
    • Social media
    • Social opinion
    • Twitter

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Software
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of '#Snowden: Understanding biases introduced by behavioral differences of opinion groups on social media'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this