AAAI Publications, Eleventh International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

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Antagonism Also Flows Through Retweets: The Impact of Out-of-Context Quotes in Opinion Polarization Analysis
Pedro Calais Guerra, Roberto Nalon, Renato Assunção, Wagner Meira Jr.

Last modified: 2017-05-03


In this paper, we study the implications of the commonplace assumption that most social media studies make with respect to the nature of message shares (such as retweets) as a predominantly positive interaction. By analyzing two large longitudinal Brazilian Twitter datasets containing 5 years of conversations on two polarizing topics — Politics and Sports, we empirically demonstrate that groups holding antagonistic views can actually retweet each other more often than they retweet other groups. We show that assuming retweets as endorsement interactions can lead to misleading conclusions with respect to the level of antagonism among social communities, and that this apparent paradox is explained in part by the use of retweets to quote the original content creator out of the message's original temporal context, for humor and criticism purposes.

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