POST Online Media Lite Edition



 

Half of the most popular news on Twitter is not covered by traditional media

Staff writer |
A new analysis focuses on the trending topics of Twitter because they share some of the same characteristics as news, dealing with subjects that attract the attention of a large number of people.

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The new study by researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the IMDEA Networks Institute and NEC Laboratories, has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

“They are events that a large number of users are interested in and, in this regard, we can say that they are news items selected democratically by Twitter users in a country,” the researchers noted.

To carry out the study, all the “trending topics” on Twitter were compiled from 35 countries over three months in 2013, and from over 62 countries (the maximum number that the functionality of Twitter allowed) over the same period in 2014.

In total, more than 300,000 “trending topics” generated in different countries and at different times were obtained, which makes it possible to study the dissemination of this content among different countries and cultures.

“The conclusion we have reached is that the geographic dissemination of news on social networks preserves some of the biases present in the dissemination of traditional news, like the fact that it tends to flow more from rich countries to poor countries,” said Rubén Cuevas, a researcher from the UC3M Department of Telematic Engineering.

In addition to this socioeconomic conditioning, the study reveals that there is another important bias among countries that speak the same language: a cultural one.

“To summarize,” he said, “economic power conditions the dissemination of news on social networks among countries with different languages, while in the case of countries that share the same language, the fundamental conditioning factor is cultural similarity.”


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