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Title: The Influence of Community Interactions on User Affinity in Social Networks: A Facebook Case Study
Authors: Senaweera, M.
Chamindi, M.M.N.D.
Dissanayake, S.A.D.Y.R.
Issue Date: 26-Jul-2021
Abstract: With the advent of social media, one of the biggest concerns have been its suspected impact on democracy by influencing users’ opinions during elections. Impact of the social networks (and/or media) has been the center of that discussion due to well-known cases of using social networks to sway people’s opinion in events crucial to the democracy such as the election. The accusations vary from the propagation of fake news to concerns about Facebook having unfettered power over its users’ content. As a step towards understanding the true nature of social media’s influence, we started collecting data prior to Local Election in Sri Lanka, 2018 and continued the collection until the election was over; we collected the data through Facebook API and all of the data is completely anonymized. The dataset covers 44K users from Sri Lanka and their interactions with 44 Facebook groups. The dataset also includes all of the associated events related to each group. As a preliminary step, we have analyzed how the user affinity surrounding these groups have changed surrounding the period of the local election. Our analysis also gives a concrete and quantitative evidence of how users are communicating on Facebook and how active they are surrounding a sensitive event. Further, there is a significant change of affinity of a set of individuals over the time corresponding to the external event. Additionally, we find that there are users migrating among the Facebook groups during the election period. Further, we show that when the migration network, viewed as a weighted network, displays features which are significantly different from a comparable random network. In particular, we show that user migrations within Sri Lankan political groups during the election period show a non-random behavior potentially motivated by the real world events. We believe our analysis is the first of its kind in providing scientific analysis of the influence of social media in Sri Lanka.
Appears in Collections:2018

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