A study from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) in the United Kingdom titled, “Who Matters Online: Measuring influence, evaluating content and countering violent extremism in online social networks” has examined the problem of extremists using social media.
Utilizing white supremacists in the United States as an example, the study isolated several factors that people can use to measure who is worth “keeping an eye on” when it comes to extremism on social media.
The paper created a scoring system that focused on:
- Influence: The tendency of a user to inspire a measurable reaction from other users (such as a replies or retweets). The study found that this was concentrated to the top 1% of users in the data set.
- Exposure: The flip side of influence, this is the tendency of a user to respond to another user in a measurable way. High ratings in this area showed a high engagement with the ideology.
- Interactivity: The sum of influence and exposure scores, roughly representing how often a user interacts with the content of other users. This metric was also correlated to high engagement with ideology.