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The Spatial Dimension of Online Echo Chambers

Bastos, M. T., Mercea, D. & Baronchelli, A. The Spatial Dimension of Online Echo Chambers. .


This study explores the geographic dependencies of echo-chamber communication on Twitter during the Brexit referendum campaign. We review the literature on filter bubbles, echo chambers, and polarization to test five hypotheses positing that echo-chamber communication is associated with homophily in the physical world, chiefly the geographic proximity between users advocating sides of the campaign. The results support the hypothesis that echo chambers in the Leave campaign are associated with geographic propinquity, whereas in the Remain campaign the reverse relationship was found. This study presents evidence that geographically proximate social enclaves interact with polarized political discussion where echo-chamber communication is observed. The article concludes with a discussion of these findings and the contribution to research on filter bubbles and echo chambers.

Publication Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
Text - Accepted Version
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