Seminario Pubblico Prof. Walter Quattrociocchi

Date: Martedì 12 Dicembre,
Time: 10.30
Speaker: Walter Quattrociocchi

Titolo: Data-driven modeling of social dynamics
Abstract: Do echo chambers exist on social media? By focusing on how both Italian and US Facebook users relate to two distinct narratives (involving conspiracy theories and science), we offer quantitative evidence that they do. The explanation involves users' tendency to promote their favored stories and hence to form polarized groups. Confirmation bias helps to account for users' decisions about whether to spread content, thus creating informational cascades within identifiable communities. At the same time, aggregation of favored information within those communities reinforces selective exposure and group polarization. We provide empirical evidence that users tend to assimilate only confirming claims and ignore apparent refutations because they focus on their preferred narratives.
The COVID-19 pandemic was the perfect storm for this phenomenon and the WHO coined the term infodemics to refer to the overabundance of information. We explored these processes during the pandemics' initial phase finding that reliable and questionable information spread similarly. We conclude the presentation by showing how different social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Gab, and Reddit) elicit very different polarization dynamics.

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