Understanding Information Spreading in Social Media during Hurricane Sandy: User Activity and Network Properties

Arif Mohaimin Sadri, Samiul Hasan, Satish V. Ukkusuri, Manuel Cebrian

Many people use social media to seek information during disasters while lacking access to traditional information sources. In this study, we analyze Twitter data to understand information spreading activities of social media users during hurricane Sandy. We create multiple subgraphs of Twitter users based on activity levels and analyze network properties of the subgraphs. We observe that user information sharing activity follows a power-law distribution suggesting the existence of few highly active nodes in disseminating information and many other nodes being less active. We also observe close enough connected components and isolates at all levels of activity, and networks become less transitive, but more assortative for larger subgraphs. We also analyze the association between user activities and characteristics that may influence user behavior to spread information during a crisis. Users become more active in spreading information if they are centrally placed in the network, less eccentric, and have higher degrees. Our analysis provides insights on how to exploit user characteristics and network properties to spread information or limit the spreading of misinformation during a crisis event.

Knowledge Graph



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