Simulating Opinion Changes in Online Social Networks

Date of Submission: 
September 19, 2013
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Nowak et al. extended the original Social Impact Theory by taking into account individual’s reciprocal influence on the public, and developed one of the earliest computer simulations in the sociology community to show that more individuals who hold minority opinions would change their opinions towards the majority side than the other way around. In this paper, we extend their work to the context of online social networks, by modeling opinion changes on a random network topology that better emulates our real-life online social platforms, adopting a more realistic immediacy metric, and introducing two types of important dynamics into the network structure. We simulate and visualize the opinion change process due to the impact propagation and the evolution of social network structures, and quantify the effects of key parameters.