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Conference Paper by Mahmoudreza Babaei, Juhi Kulshrestha, Abhijnan Chakraborty, Fabrıcio Benevenuto, Krishna P. Gummadi, Adrian Weller

Purple Feed: Identifying High Consensus News Posts on Social Media

AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society, (co-located with AAAI-18) New Orleans

Although diverse news stories are actively posted on social media, readers often focus on the news which reinforces their pre-existing views, leading to ‘filter bubble’ effects. To combat this, some recent systems expose and nudge readers to- ward stories with different points of view. One example is the Wall Street Journal’s ‘Blue Feed, Red Feed’ system, which presents posts from biased publishers on each side of a topic. However, these systems have had limited success. We present a complementary approach which identifies high consensus ‘purple’ posts that generate similar reactions from both ‘blue’ and ‘red’ readers. We define and operationalize consensus for news posts on Twitter in the context of US politics. We show that high consensus posts can be identified and discuss their empirical properties. We present a method for automatically identifying high and low consensus news posts on Twitter, which can work at scale across many publishers. To do this, we propose a novel category of audience leaning based features, which we show are well suited to this task. Finally, we present our ‘Purple Feed’ system which highlights high consensus posts from publishers on both sides of the political spectrum.

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