Mainstream media behavior analysis on Twitter: a case study on UK general election

Zhongyu Wei, Yulan He, Wei Gao, Binyang Li, Lanjun Zhou, Kam-Fai Wong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


With the development of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, mainstream media organizations including newspapers and TV media have played an active role in engaging with their audience and strengthening their influence on the recently emerged platforms. In this paper, we analyze the behavior of mainstream media on Twitter and study how they exert their influence to shape public opinion during the UK's 2010 General Election. We first propose an empirical measure to quantify mainstream media bias based on sentiment analysis and show that it correlates better with the actual political bias in the UK media than the pure quantitative measures based on media coverage of various political parties. We then compare the information diffusion patterns from different categories of sources. We found that while mainstream media is good at seeding prominent information cascades, its role in shaping public opinion is being challenged by journalists since tweets from them are more likely to be retweeted and they spread faster and have longer lifespan compared to tweets from mainstream media. Moreover, the political bias of the journalists is a good indicator of the actual election results.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 24th ACM conference on hypertext and social media, HT '13
Place of PublicationNew York, NY (US)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-1967-6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2013
Event24th ACM conference on Hypertext and social media - Paris, France
Duration: 1 May 20133 May 2013


Conference24th ACM conference on Hypertext and social media
Abbreviated titleHypertext 2013


  • social media analysis


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