Emerging Technology From the arXiv: “A new way of analyzing disagreement on social media reveals that arguments in the Twittersphere look like fireworks.
Many a controversy has raged on social media platforms such as Twitter. Some last for weeks or months, others blow themselves in an afternoon. And yet most go unnoticed by most people. That would change if there was a reliable way of spotting controversies in the Twitterstream in real time.
That could happen thanks to the work of Kiran Garimella and pals at Aalto University in Finland. These guys have found a way to spot the characteristics of a controversy in a collection of tweets and distinguish this from a noncontroversial conversation.
Various researchers have studied controversies on Twitter but these have all focused on preidentified arguments, whereas Garimella and co want to spot them in the first place. Their key idea is that the structure of conversations that involve controversy are different from those that are benign.
And they think this structure can be spotted by studying various properties of the conversation, such as the network of connections between those involved in a topic; the structure of endorsements, who agrees with whom; and the sentiment of the discussion, whether positive and negative.
They test this idea by first studying ten conversations associated with hashtags that are known to be controversial and ten that are known to be benign. Garimella and co map out the structure of these discussion by looking at the networks of retweets, follows, keywords and combinations of these….(More)
More: arxiv.org/abs/1507.05224 : Quantifying Controversy in Social Media