Quantifying political leaning from tweets and retweets

Felix Ming Fai Wong, Chee Wei Tan, Soumya Sen, Mung Chiang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

53 Scopus citations


Media outlets and pundits have been quick to embrace online social networks to disseminate their own opinions. But pundits' opinions and news coverage are often marked by a clear political bias, as widely evidenced during the fiercely contested 2012 U.S. presidential elections. Given the wide availability of such data from sites like Twitter, a natural question is whether we can quantify the political leanings of media outlets using OSN data. In this work, by drawing a correspondence between tweeting and retweeting behavior, we formulate political leaning estimation as an ill-posed linear inverse problem. The result is a simple and scalable approach that does not require explicit knowledge of the network topology. We evaluate our method with a dataset of 119 million election-related tweets collected from April to November, and use it to study the political leaning of prominent tweeters and media sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM 2013
PublisherAAAI press
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Event7th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM 2013 - Cambridge, MA, United States
Duration: Jul 8 2013Jul 11 2013


Other7th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCambridge, MA


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