Thousands of small, constant rallies: A large-scale analysis of partisan Whatsapp groups

Victor S. Bursztyn, Larry Birnbaum

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is growing concern about the use of social platforms to push political narratives during elections. One very recent case is Brazil’s, where WhatsApp is now widely perceived as a key enabler of the far-right’s rise to power. In this paper, we perform a large-scale analysis of partisan WhatsApp groups to shed light on how both right-wingers and left-wingers used the platform in the 2018 Brazilian presidential election. Across its two rounds, we collected +2.8M messages from +45k users in 232 public groups (175 right-wing vs. 57 left-wing). After describing how we obtained a sample that is many times larger than previous works, we contrast right-wingers and left-wingers on their social network metrics, regional distribution of users, content-sharing habits, and most characteristic news sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2019 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019
EditorsFrancesca Spezzano, Wei Chen, Xiaokui Xiao
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages484-488
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781450368681
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 27 2019
Event11th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019 - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: Aug 27 2019Aug 30 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 2019 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019

Conference

Conference11th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019
CountryCanada
CityVancouver
Period8/27/198/30/19

Keywords

  • Chat applications
  • Data collection
  • Elections
  • Partisanship
  • Social network analysis
  • WhatsApp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Sociology and Political Science

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    Bursztyn, V. S., & Birnbaum, L. (2019). Thousands of small, constant rallies: A large-scale analysis of partisan Whatsapp groups. In F. Spezzano, W. Chen, & X. Xiao (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019 (pp. 484-488). (Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2019). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/3341161.3342905