Publication

The Role of Social Networks in Information Diffusion

International World Wide Web Conference (WWW)


Abstract

Online social networking technologies enable individuals to simultaneously share information with any number of peers. Quantifying the causal effect of these mediums on the dissemination of information requires not only identification of who influences whom, but also of whether individuals would still propagate information in the absence of social signals about that information.

We examine the role of social networks in online information diffusion with a large-scale field experiment that randomizes exposure to signals about friends’ information sharing among 253 million subjects in situ. Those who are exposed are significantly more likely to spread information, and do so sooner than those who are not exposed.

We further examine the relative role of strong and weak ties in information propagation. We show that, although stronger ties are individually more influential, it is the more abundant weak ties who are responsible for the propagation of novel information. This suggests that weak ties may play a more dominant role in the dissemination of information online than currently believed.

Related Publications

All Publications

Journal of Big Data - July 19, 2021

Cumulative deviation of a subpopulation from the full population

Mark Tygert

CSCW - November 3, 2020

The dynamics of U.S. college network formation on Facebook

Jan Overgoor, Bogdan State, Lada Adamic

PLOS ONE Journal - September 8, 2021

Large-scale decrease in the social salience of climate change during the COVID-19 pandemic

Brian R. Spisak, Bogdan State, Ingrid van de Leemput, Marten Scheffer, Yuwei Liu

AISTATS - August 31, 2021

Causal Autoregressive Flows

Ilyes Khemakhem, Ricardo P. Monti, Robert Leech, Aapo Hyvärinen

To help personalize content, tailor and measure ads, and provide a safer experience, we use cookies. By clicking or navigating the site, you agree to allow our collection of information on and off Facebook through cookies. Learn more, including about available controls: Cookies Policy