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Different News for Different Views: Political News-sharing Communities on Social Media Through the UK General Election in 2015

Different News for Different Views: Political News-sharing Communities on Social Media Through the UK General Election in 2015

Talk given at The First International Workshop on News Public Opinion (NECO). Cologne, Germany. 17 May 2016.

Matt J Williams

May 17, 2016
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  1. The First International Workshop
    on News and Public Opinion
    17 May 2016
    Cologne, Germany
    Different News for Different Views
    Political News-sharing Communities on Social Media Through the
    UK General Election in 2015
    Matt J. Williams
    Biosciences
    University of Exeter
    Iulia Cioroianu
    Politics
    University of Exeter
    Hywel T. P. Williams
    Biosciences
    University of Exeter
    @voxmjw

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  2. UK General Election 2015
    7th May

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  3. public opinion
    influenced by
    media exposure

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  4. 2005
    An evolving media environment...
    2010 2015
    5.4M*
    7M UK 15M UK
    28M UK
    UK’s first
    ‘social media election’
    31M UK
    The ‘hashtag election’
    – Mark Frankel,
    BBC, A.Ed. of Social News

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  5. Traditional (‘Legacy’) media
    editorial bias +
    media exposure
    influence public
    political opinion

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  6. Social Media
    Exposure
    ‘Legacy’ Media
    Exposure
    Sources:
    Multiple online platforms
    Each platform 10s-100s of connections
    Communication exposure [share + re-share]
    Inherently networked
    Hard to audit?
    Bias:
    Bias and exposure are an emergent property
    Diverge range of exposure profiles
    throughout network
    Sources:
    <= 10 sources?
    Selected by reader
    Easy(ish) to audit
    Bias:
    Selection bias
    Editorial bias
    print, digital news, radio, television, ... Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, ...
    ? ?
    ?
    ? ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Williams (2015)
    Glob. Env. Change, 32, 126-138

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  7. Climate change
    activists vs skeptics
    Williams (2015)
    Glob. Env. Change, 32, 126-138
    Twitter climate change
    followers network
    Social media utopia?
    open marketplace for ideas;
    global debate and consensus
    Social media dystopia?
    filter bubbles; echo chambers;
    segregation; polarisation

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  8. This study...
    Exploring political news exposure and the interaction between
    news and social media during the UK general election
    Datasets... Tools...
    Election news content:
    14k articles; 17 UK newspapers
    Social media [Twitter]:
    87k tweets; 52k users; 11k hashtags
    Automated content analysis
    Network analysis
    How did GE discussion evolve in news media and social media?
    What GE-focused news-sharing communities exist? What are their idealogical biases?
    How does their media exposure differ?
    Questions...
    Ongoing work
    Better/bigger data!
    Genpop exposure vs politicians’ exposure

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  9. Dataset: News articles
    21 topics
    moderate right
    moderate left centre
    6 political
    party topics
    15 issue topics
    NHS(Health)
    Tax&Spend
    Polls
    Debates
    Housing
    London
    Coalition
    EU
    Business
    Regions
    Schools
    Benefits
    Media
    Economy
    Donations
    17 national and
    local papers
    13,551 election
    news articles 22 Mar – 17 May

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  10. Task: Identifying election-related news articles
    LexisNexis
    News Articles
    Database
    All articles across
    17 UK newspapers
    over 4 months
    (100k-450k articles)
    Human coding
    11,000 article training set.
    Articles classified as GE and not-GE.
    ~10 human annotators
    Supervised
    classifier
    (SVM)
    Cross-validation:
    F-score = 0.95
    13,551 articles
    classified as General
    Election related

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  11. GE news articles
    corpus
    Topic modelling
    (latent Dirichlet
    allocation)
    13,551 election-related
    news articles
    each article gets tagged
    with mixture of 30 topics...
    9x non-election topics [discarded]
    6x political party topics found
    15x issue topics found
    topic weight
    UKIP
    Tax & Spend
    EU
    NHS
    ...
    Task: Identifying election-related topics

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  12. Task: Identifying election-related topics

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  13. Dataset: Social media
    Over study period 22 Mar – 17 May
    86,939
    tweets
    52,299
    users
    10,529
    hashtags
    2,349
    domains shared
    GE-focused tweets, filtered by
    identifying GE-related hashtags
    ...of which 15,152 users tweeted one
    or more URL
    a proxy for the topics discussed
    by Twitter users
    a proxy for the content sources
    tweeted by Twitter users; e.g., guardian.com

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  14. #ge2015 #generalelection2015
    #battlefornumber10 #leadersdebate #bbcdebate #bbcqt
    #scotdebates #scotdebate #walesdebate #walesdebates
    #conservative #labour #libdems #ukip
    #greens
    #snp #plaid15
    #dup #sdlp #respectparty
    Archive.org
    Twitter Stream Grab
    (1% global spritzer feed)
    March-May 2015
    267 million tweets worldwide
    86,939 tweets related to the
    UK general election [22 Mar – 17 May]
    http://gu.com/p/48866
    http://www.theguardian.com/
    politics/2015/may/08/ukip-
    frustrated-share-vote-fails-
    translate-seats
    theguardian.com
    URL to
    domain
    resolution

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  15. Twitter trends over time
    Election day
    Thu 7 May
    ‘Battle for Number 10’
    Two party leaders Q&A
    Thu 26 Mar
    ITV Leader’s Debate
    Thu 2 Apr
    BBC Opposition
    Leaders’ Debate
    Thu 16 Apr
    BBC Question Time
    Election Leaders Special
    Two party leaders Q&A
    Thu 30 Apr

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  16. trending Twitter
    hashtags

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  17. Twitter
    hashtags
    Tweet
    volume
    News
    topics

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  18. Temporal correlation between
    hashtags and topics
    large circle =
    significant at 0.01 threshold
    red = positive correlation
    (hashtag and topic trend together)

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  19. News-sharing networks
    theguardian.com
    dailymail.co.uk
    huffingtonpost.co.uk

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  20. Shared-audience networks
    www.theguardian.com
    www.dailymail.co.uk
    www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

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  21. www.theguardian.com
    www.dailymail.co.uk
    www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

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  22. Shared audience
    network
    2,349 nodes (domains)
    17,855 edges
    (shared audience connections)

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  23. 5
    3
    0
    4
    8
    2
    7
    10
    9
    6
    1
    Shared audience
    communities
    Node = domain
    e.g., guardian.com
    Edge = shared
    Twitter audience
    Community detection via Louvain algorithm
    Modularity score Q = 0.283
    Node colour = community
    (intra-community edges
    not depicted)

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  24. 5
    3
    0
    4
    8
    2
    7
    10
    9
    6
    1
    join.labour.org.uk
    donation.labour.org.uk
    shop.labour.org.uk
    press.labour.org.uk
    conservatives.com
    myukip.com
    ukipbarnet.org
    wokinghamukip.org.uk
    my.greenparty.org.uk
    action.greenparty.org.uk
    greenparty.org.uk
    my.snp.org
    snp.org
    snp.org
    votesnp.com
    libdems.org.uk
    scotlibdems.org.uk
    political party
    websites
    moderate right
    moderate left centre

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  25. 5
    3
    0
    4
    8
    2
    7
    10
    9
    6
    1
    join.labour.org.uk
    donation.labour.org.uk
    shop.labour.org.uk
    press.labour.org.uk
    conservatives.com
    myukip.com
    ukipbarnet.org
    wokinghamukip.org.uk
    my.greenparty.org.uk
    action.greenparty.org.uk
    greenparty.org.uk
    my.snp.org
    snp.org
    snp.org
    votesnp.com
    libdems.org.uk
    scotlibdems.org.uk
    newspapers
    (17x selected for study)
    telegraph.co.uk
    dailymail.co.uk
    theguardian.com
    ft.com
    blogs.ft.com
    elections.ft.com
    thetimes.co.uk
    extras.thetimes.co.uk
    independent.co.uk
    indy100.independent.co.uk
    mirror.co.uk
    express.co.uk
    thesun.co.uk
    dailystar.co.uk
    dailyrecord.co.uk
    standard.co.uk
    scotsman.com
    yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk
    walesonline.co.uk
    southwales-eveningpost.co.uk
    moderate right
    moderate left centre

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  26. Community 1
    Includes: The Daily Mail, The Daily Star, The Express, The
    Telegraph, The Sun, The Times and Western Morning News
    Community 4
    Includes: Western Mail and Yorkshire Evening Post
    expressandstar.com
    order-order.com
    thunderclap.it
    express.co.uk
    thetimes.co.uk
    dailymail.co.uk
    electmps-ukip.nationbuilder.com
    ukip.trendolizer.com
    conservatives.com
    countryside-alliance.org
    leicestermercury.co.uk
    pensions-insight.co.uk
    join.ukip.org
    linkis.com breitbart.com
    yougov.co.uk
    westernmorningnews.co.uk
    cambridge-news.co.uk
    ukip.org
    unilad.co.uk
    nopenothope.blogspot.co.uk
    yorkshirepost.co.uk
    blogs.spectator.co.uk
    telegraph.co.uk
    thecourier.co.uk
    thesun.co.uk
    ukipnw.org.uk
    labour25.com
    coventrytelegraph.net
    itv.com
    southwalesguardian.co.uk
    news.channel4.com
    ebay.co.uk
    supportchaz.weebly.com
    plaid.cymru
    fivethirtyeight.com
    partyof.wales
    walesonline.co.uk
    aberystwythvoice.wordpress.com
    facebook.com
    Community 2
    Includes: The Daily Mirror and The Independent
    Community 5
    Includes: The Evening Standard
    labourlist.org
    channel4.com
    ipsos-mori.com
    press.labour.org.uk
    action.makeseatsmatchvotes.org
    tompride.wordpress.com
    bbc.co.uk
    theconversation.com
    standard.co.uk
    news.sky.com
    thisislocallondon.co.uk
    cnduk.org
    politicshome.com
    thenational.scot vine.co
    parliament.uk
    ssl.bbc.co.uk
    theyvoted.org
    getbucks.co.uk
    chroniclelive.co.uk
    kittysjones.wordpress.com
    shop.labour.org.uk
    conservatives.com
    myukip.com
    ukipbarnet.org
    wokinghamukip.org.uk
    telegraph.co.uk
    dailymail.co.uk
    thetimes.co.uk
    extras.thetimes.co.uk
    express.co.uk
    thesun.co.uk
    dailystar.co.uk
    Only high-degree
    nodes are depicted
    Tax and spend
    Coalition
    Benefits
    Polls
    Debates
    EU
    Media
    Regions
    Donations
    Schools
    Business
    Housing
    Economy
    London
    NHS
    Conservatives
    SNP
    UKIP
    Lib Dems
    Labour
    Greens
    3
    5
    7
    10
    12
    1 2 3 4 5
    Center is at .6111
    news topic proportions
    (LDA on newspaper news articles)

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  27. mobile.snp.org
    Community 3
    Includes: The Guardian and The Scotsman
    Community 7
    cityam.com
    politics.co.uk
    atrueindependentscotland.com
    indiegogo.com
    jrf.org.uk leftfootforward.org
    scotsman.com
    realukip.tumblr.com
    huffingtonpost.co.uk
    disabilitynewsservice.com
    amp.twimg.com
    indy100.independent.co.uk
    libdems.org.uk
    england.shelter.org.uk
    theguardian.com
    morningstaronline.co.uk
    weourselves.com
    hopenothate.org.uk
    scotgoespop.blogspot.co.uk
    benefitsandwork.co.uk
    buzzfeed.com
    blogs.lse.ac.uk markpack.org.uk
    may2015.com
    gov.uk
    newstatesman.com
    sunnation.co.uk
    scoop
    voxpo
    foe.co.uk
    pape
    liverpoolec
    infowars.com
    action.greenparty.org.uk
    tweetedtime
    my.greenparty.org.uk
    youtube.com
    exaronews.com
    livestream.co
    realnewsuk.com
    rt.com
    greenparty.org.uk
    you.38degrees.org.uk
    i.instagram.com
    google.co.uk
    homesforbritai
    change.org
    harriety.blogsp
    crowdfunder.co.uk
    1
    Only high-degree
    nodes are depicted
    join.labour.org.uk
    donation.labour.org.uk
    libdems.org.uk
    theguardian.com
    indy100.independent.co.uk
    scotsman.com
    Tax and spend
    Coalition
    Benefits
    Polls
    Debates
    EU
    Media
    Regions
    Donations
    Schools
    Business
    Housing
    Economy
    London
    NHS
    Conservatives
    SNP
    UKIP
    Lib Dems
    Labour
    Greens
    3
    5
    7
    10
    12
    1 2 3 4 5
    Center is at .6111
    news topic proportions
    (LDA on newspaper news articles)

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  28. thecourier.co.uk
    Community 2
    Includes: The Daily Mirror and The Independent
    Community 5
    Includes: The Evening Standard
    birdops.com
    labourlist.org
    channel4.com
    ipsos-mori.com
    press.labour.org.uk
    g.rippedoffbritons.com
    ction.makeseatsmatchvotes.org
    tompride.wordpress.com
    scottishlabour.org.uk
    ifs.org.uk
    independent.co.uk
    scottishconstructionnow.com
    blogs.channel4.com
    mirror.co.uk
    newsshaft.com
    news.stv.tv
    bbc.co.uk
    wingsoverscotland.com
    bellacaledonia.org.uk
    bbc.com
    snp.org
    theconversation.com
    standard.co.uk
    ukok.pag
    news.sky.com
    thisislocallondon.co.uk
    mobile.snp.org
    cnduk.org
    lallandspeatworrier.blog
    politicshom
    stori
    ntn.al
    my.snp.org
    thenational.scot vine.co
    parliament.uk
    gatestoneinstitute.org
    ssl.bbc.co.uk
    35percent.org
    theyvoted.org
    getbucks.co.uk
    pressandjournal.co.uk
    shetnews.co.uk
    libd
    chroniclelive.c
    lavanguardia.com
    twitter.com
    gerryhassan.com
    kittysjones.wordpress.com
    Community 3
    Includes: The Guardian and The Scotsman
    Community 7
    cityam.com
    atrueindependentscotland.com
    disabilitynewsservice.com
    amp.twimg.com
    indy100.independent.co.uk
    libdems.org.uk
    morningstaronline.co.uk
    weourselves.com
    blogs.lse.ac.uk markpack.org.uk
    may2015.com
    gov.uk
    newstatesman.com
    sunnation.co.uk
    voxpopgov.com
    foe.co.uk
    liverpoolecho.co.uk
    action.greenparty.org.uk
    exaronews.com
    livestream.com
    i.instagram.com
    homesforbritain.org.uk
    redpe
    change.org
    crowdfunder.co.uk
    Only high-degree
    nodes are depicted
    independent.co.uk
    mirror.co.uk
    press.labour.org.uk
    votesnp.com
    Tax and spend
    Coalition
    Benefits
    Polls
    Debates
    EU
    Media
    Regions
    Donations
    Schools
    Business
    Housing
    Economy
    London
    NHS
    Conservatives
    SNP
    UKIP
    Lib Dems
    Labour
    Greens
    3
    5
    7
    10
    12
    1 2 3 4 5
    Center is at .6111
    news topic proportions
    (LDA on newspaper news articles)

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  29. bbc.com
    Community 7
    manchestereveningnews.co.uk
    scoop.it
    voxpopgov.com
    foe.co.uk
    paper.li
    liverpoolecho.co.uk
    infowars.com
    action.greenparty.org.uk
    tweetedtimes.com
    my.greenparty.org.uk
    youtube.com
    exaronews.com
    livestream.com
    realnewsuk.com
    rt.com
    greenparty.org.uk
    you.38degrees.org.uk
    i.instagram.com
    google.co.uk
    homesforbritain.org.uk
    redpepper.org.uk
    change.org
    harriety.blogspot.co.uk
    crowdfunder.co.uk
    my.greenparty.org.uk
    action.greenparty.org.uk
    greenparty.org.uk
    Only high-degree
    nodes are depicted
    -

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  30. 5
    3
    0
    4
    8
    2
    7
    10
    9
    6
    1
    join.labour.org.uk
    donation.labour.org.uk
    shop.labour.org.uk
    press.labour.org.uk
    conservatives.com
    myukip.com
    ukipbarnet.org
    wokinghamukip.org.uk
    my.greenparty.org.uk
    action.greenparty.org.uk
    greenparty.org.uk
    my.snp.org
    snp.org
    snp.org
    votesnp.com
    libdems.org.uk
    scotlibdems.org.uk
    newspapers
    (17x selected for study)
    telegraph.co.uk
    dailymail.co.uk
    theguardian.com
    ft.com
    blogs.ft.com
    elections.ft.com
    thetimes.co.uk
    extras.thetimes.co.uk
    independent.co.uk
    indy100.independent.co.uk
    mirror.co.uk
    express.co.uk
    thesun.co.uk
    dailystar.co.uk
    dailyrecord.co.uk
    standard.co.uk
    scotsman.com
    yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk
    walesonline.co.uk
    southwales-eveningpost.co.uk

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  31. Summary & Ongoing Work
    • Social media →
    communication exposure →
    network effects
    • Shared audience communities...
    ...relate to party ideologies
    ...relate to newspaper ideologies
    ...reveal biased issue topics
    • Missing link: domain to user
    exposure?
    Ongoing work..
    • GNIP data on GE2015
    • MP candidates’ tweets

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  32. The next evolution...?
    2005 2010 2015
    5.5M*
    7M UK 15M UK
    28M UK
    UK’s first
    ‘social media
    election’
    31M UK
    The ‘hashtag
    election’
    – Mark Frankel,
    BBC, A.Ed. of Social News
    2020
    ?
    ?

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  33. Media exposure is known to affect political
    opinions – this is why powerful individuals buy
    newspapers and exert editorial bias...

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  34. Network bias in social media is different –
    harder to spot, not controlled by single
    individual, unpredictable...democratic?
    Difficult to buy influence when bias and exposure
    are emergent properties of a complex,
    interconnected, networked system?

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  35. Different news for different views: Political news-sharing communities
    on social media through the UK General Election in 2015
    (at NECO 2016)
    Thanks for listening!
    Matthew J. Williams
    University of Exeter
    [email protected]
    http://www.mattjw.net
    @voxmjw
    Iulia Cioroianu
    University of Exeter
    www.iuliacioroianu.info
    Hywel T.P. Williams
    University of Exeter
    @HywelTPWilliams
    ExpoNetMeasuring information exposure in
    dynamic and dependent networks

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