How people's stance on a topic can be inferred from their online activity

How people’s stance on a topic can be inferred from their online activity

by Ingrid Fadelli , Tech Xplore

As proven by some recent extreme, controversial incidents, such as the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, social media can be a real goldmine for user information. In fact, most social researchers and analytics companies perceive social media as one of the most valuable resources for understanding public opinion and how individuals react to specific events.

With this in mind, research groups worldwide have been trying to develop tools to analyze social media activity and automatically gather information about people’s stances on specific topics. In a recent study, a group of researchers at the University of Edinburgh has set out to unveil some of the key factors that can help to determine the stances of individuals based on their social media profiles. Their paper, pre-published on arXiv, offers interesting new insight that could lead to the development of more advanced analytics tools.

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