AAAI Publications, Sixth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media

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#bias: Measuring the Tweeting Behavior of Propagandists
Cristian Lumezanu, Nick Feamster, Hans Klein

Last modified: 2012-05-20


Twitter is an efficient conduit of information for millions of usersaround the world. Its ability to quickly spread information to a largenumber of people makes it an efficient way to shape information and,hence, shape public opinion. We study the tweeting behavior of Twitter propagandists, users who consistently expressthe same opinion or ideology, focusing on two online communities: the2010 Nevada senate race and the 2011 debt-ceiling debate. We identify several extreme tweeting patterns thatcould characterize users who spread propaganda: (1) sending high volumesof tweets over short periods of time, (2) retweeting whilepublishing little original content, (3) quickly retweeting, and (4) colluding with other, seeminglyunrelated, users to send duplicate or near-duplicate messages on thesame topic simultaneously. These four features appear to distinguishtweeters who spread propaganda from other more neutral users and could serve asstarting point for developing behavioral-based propaganda detection techniquesfor Twitter.

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