Analyzing polarization of social media users and news sites during political campaigns

  • Fabrizio Marozzo
  • Alessandro Bessi
Original Article


Social media analysis is a fast growing research area aimed at extracting useful information from social networks. Recent years have seen a great interest from academic and business world in using social media to measure public opinion. This paper presents a methodology aimed at discovering the behavior of social network users and how news sites are used during political campaigns characterized by the rivalry of different factions. As a case study, we present an analysis on the constitutional referendum that was held in Italy on December 4, 2016. A first goal of the analysis was to study how Twitter users expressed their voting intentions about the referendum in the weeks before the voting day, so as to understand how the voting trends have evolved before the vote, e.g., if there have been changes in the voting intentions. According to our study, 48% of Twitter users were polarized toward no, 25% toward yes, and 27% had a neutral behavior. A second goal was to understand the effects of news sites on the referendum campaign. The analysis has shown that some news sites had a strong polarization toward yes (, and, some others had a neutral position (,, and and others were oriented toward no (, and


Social media analysis Public opinion Online information News sites Users’ polarization Social networks Political events 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DIMESUniversity of CalabriaRendeItaly
  2. 2.Information Sciences InstituteUniversity of Southern CaliforniaMarina del ReyUSA

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