Topology of Thematic Communities in Online Social Networks: A Comparative Study
The network structure of communities in social media significantly affects diffusion processes which implement positive or negative information influence on social media users. Some of the thematic communities in online social networks may provide illegal services or information in them may cause undesired psychological effects; moreover, the topology of such communities and behavior of their members are influenced by a thematic. Nevertheless, recent research does not contain enough detail about the particularities of thematic communities formation, or about the topological properties of underlying friendship networks. To address this gap, in this study we analyze structure of communities of different types, namely, carders, commercial sex workers, substance sellers and users, people with radical political views, and compare them to the ‘normal’ communities (without a single narrow focus). We discovered that in contrast to ordinary communities which have positive assortativity (as expected for social networks), specific thematical communities are significantly disassortative. Types of anomalous communities also differ not only in content but in structure. The most specific are the communities of radicalized individuals: it was shown that they have the highest connectivity and the larger part of nodes within a friendship graph.
KeywordsNetwork topology Data analysis Online social media Normal communities Anomalous communities Subscribers friendship networks
This research was financially supported by Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Agreement #14.578.21.0196 (03.10.2016). Unique Identification RFMEFI57816X0196.
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