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The Impact of Opinion Majorities in Social Networks and the Role of Digital Maturity
  • Patrick HalbachEmail author
  • Laura Burbach
  • Martina Ziefle
  • André Calero-Valdez
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11582)


The emergence of social media platforms like Facebook and their success in connecting people changed not only the way people interact and socialize, but also allows for new forms of spreading opinion. The obstacles to share opinions and reaching many known and unknown others, decreased noticeably, bringing up an abundance of opinions on diverse topics. We investigated the interplay of the spiral of silence and the bandwagon effect in online contexts and performed a web survey with 163 participants, confronting them with opinion majorities in user comments on four diverse topics. Our results show, that both phenomena reoccur in online contexts. However, they were not traceable to our examined user factors. This indicates, that a large proportion of users could fall for online bandwagon effects and the spiral of silence.


Spiral of silence Bandwagon effect Opinion change Opinion majorities Digital maturity Human factors 



The authors would like to thank Nils Plettenberg and Johannes Nakayama for his help in improving this article. We would like to thank Satvika Anantha, Kira Borowsky, Marcel Derichs, Tanem Dönmez, Marlien Rubner, Svenja Wimmers for their support in this study. This research was supported by the Digital Society research program funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Halbach
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laura Burbach
    • 1
  • Martina Ziefle
    • 1
  • André Calero-Valdez
    • 1
  1. 1.Human-Computer Interaction CenterRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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