Concept: World Wide Web
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published about 5 years ago
The wide availability of user-provided content in online social media facilitates the aggregation of people around common interests, worldviews, and narratives. However, the World Wide Web (WWW) also allows for the rapid dissemination of unsubstantiated rumors and conspiracy theories that often elicit rapid, large, but naive social responses such as the recent case of Jade Helm 15–where a simple military exercise turned out to be perceived as the beginning of a new civil war in the United States. In this work, we address the determinants governing misinformation spreading through a thorough quantitative analysis. In particular, we focus on how Facebook users consume information related to two distinct narratives: scientific and conspiracy news. We find that, although consumers of scientific and conspiracy stories present similar consumption patterns with respect to content, cascade dynamics differ. Selective exposure to content is the primary driver of content diffusion and generates the formation of homogeneous clusters, i.e., “echo chambers.” Indeed, homogeneity appears to be the primary driver for the diffusion of contents and each echo chamber has its own cascade dynamics. Finally, we introduce a data-driven percolation model mimicking rumor spreading and we show that homogeneity and polarization are the main determinants for predicting cascades' size.
Vast records of our everyday interests and concerns are being generated by our frequent interactions with the Internet. Here, we investigate how the searches of Google users vary across U.S. states with different birth rates and infant mortality rates. We find that users in states with higher birth rates search for more information about pregnancy, while those in states with lower birth rates search for more information about cats. Similarly, we find that users in states with higher infant mortality rates search for more information about credit, loans and diseases. Our results provide evidence that Internet search data could offer new insight into the concerns of different demographics.
Crises in financial markets affect humans worldwide. Detailed market data on trading decisions reflect some of the complex human behavior that has led to these crises. We suggest that massive new data sources resulting from human interaction with the Internet may offer a new perspective on the behavior of market participants in periods of large market movements. By analyzing changes in Google query volumes for search terms related to finance, we find patterns that may be interpreted as “early warning signs” of stock market moves. Our results illustrate the potential that combining extensive behavioral data sets offers for a better understanding of collective human behavior.
Wikipedia is a collaboratively edited encyclopedia. One of the most popular websites on the Internet, it is known to be a frequently used source of health care information by both professionals and the lay public.
Although traditionally the primary information sources for cancer patients have been the treating medical team, patients and their relatives increasingly turn to the Internet, though this source may be misleading and confusing. We assess Internet searching patterns to understand the information needs of cancer patients and their acquaintances, as well as to discern their underlying psychological states. We screened 232,681 anonymous users who initiated cancer-specific queries on the Yahoo Web search engine over three months, and selected for study users with high levels of interest in this topic. Searches were partitioned by expected survival for the disease being searched. We compared the search patterns of anonymous users and their contacts. Users seeking information on aggressive malignancies exhibited shorter search periods, focusing on disease- and treatment-related information. Users seeking knowledge regarding more indolent tumors searched for longer periods, alternated between different subjects, and demonstrated a high interest in topics such as support groups. Acquaintances searched for longer periods than the proband user when seeking information on aggressive (compared to indolent) cancers. Information needs can be modeled as transitioning between five discrete states, each with a unique signature representing the type of information of interest to the user. Thus, early phases of information-seeking for cancer follow a specific dynamic pattern. Areas of interest are disease dependent and vary between probands and their contacts. These patterns can be used by physicians and medical Web site authors to tailor information to the needs of patients and family members.
Interventions to promote mental well-being can bring benefits to the individual and to society. The Internet can facilitate the large-scale and low-cost delivery of individually targeted health promoting interventions.
BACKGROUND: BioHackathon 2010 was the third in a series of meetings hosted by the Database Center for Life Sciences (DBCLS) in Tokyo, Japan. The overall goal of the BioHackathon series is to improve the quality and accessibility of life science research data on the Web by bringing together representatives from public databases, analytical tool providers, and cyber-infrastructure researchers to jointly tackle important challenges in the area of in silico biological research. RESULTS: The theme of BioHackathon 2010 was the ‘Semantic Web’, and all attendees gathered with the shared goal of producing Semantic Web data from their respective resources, and/or consuming or interacting those data using their tools and interfaces. We discussed on topics including guidelines for designing semantic data and interoperability of resources. We consequently developed tools and clients for analysis and visualization. CONCLUSION: We provide a meeting report from BioHackathon 2010, in which we describe the discussions, decisions, and breakthroughs made as we moved towards compliance with Semantic Web technologies - from source provider, through middleware, to the end-consumer.
The Internet provides a platform to access health information and support self-management by consumers with chronic health conditions. Despite recognized barriers to accessing Web-based health information, there is a lack of research quantitatively exploring whether consumers report difficulty finding desired health information on the Internet and whether these consumers would like assistance (ie, navigational needs). Understanding navigational needs can provide a basis for interventions guiding consumers to quality Web-based health resources.