Roots of Trumpism: Homophily and Social Feedback in Donald Trump Support on Reddit. Massachs, J.; Monti, C.; Morales, G. D. F.; and Bonchi, F. arXiv:2005.01790 [cs], May, 2020. arXiv: 2005.01790
Roots of Trumpism: Homophily and Social Feedback in Donald Trump Support on Reddit [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
We study the emergence of support for Donald Trump in Reddit's political discussion. With almost 800k subscribers, "r/The_Donald" is one of the largest communities on Reddit, and one of the main hubs for Trump supporters. It was created in 2015, shortly after Donald Trump began his presidential campaign. By using only data from 2012, we predict the likelihood of being a supporter of Donald Trump in 2016, the year of the last US presidential elections. To characterize the behavior of Trump supporters, we draw from three different sociological hypotheses: homophily, social influence, and social feedback. We operationalize each hypothesis as a set of features for each user, and train classifiers to predict their participation in r/The_Donald. We find that homophily-based and social feedback-based features are the most predictive signals. Conversely, we do not observe a strong impact of social influence mechanisms. We also perform an introspection of the best-performing model to build a "persona" of the typical supporter of Donald Trump on Reddit. We find evidence that the most prominent traits include a predominance of masculine interests, a conservative and libertarian political leaning, and links with politically incorrect and conspiratorial content.
@article{massachs_roots_2020,
	title = {Roots of {Trumpism}: {Homophily} and {Social} {Feedback} in {Donald} {Trump} {Support} on {Reddit}},
	shorttitle = {Roots of {Trumpism}},
	url = {http://arxiv.org/abs/2005.01790},
	doi = {10.1145/3394231.3397894},
	abstract = {We study the emergence of support for Donald Trump in Reddit's political discussion. With almost 800k subscribers, "r/The\_Donald" is one of the largest communities on Reddit, and one of the main hubs for Trump supporters. It was created in 2015, shortly after Donald Trump began his presidential campaign. By using only data from 2012, we predict the likelihood of being a supporter of Donald Trump in 2016, the year of the last US presidential elections. To characterize the behavior of Trump supporters, we draw from three different sociological hypotheses: homophily, social influence, and social feedback. We operationalize each hypothesis as a set of features for each user, and train classifiers to predict their participation in r/The\_Donald. We find that homophily-based and social feedback-based features are the most predictive signals. Conversely, we do not observe a strong impact of social influence mechanisms. We also perform an introspection of the best-performing model to build a "persona" of the typical supporter of Donald Trump on Reddit. We find evidence that the most prominent traits include a predominance of masculine interests, a conservative and libertarian political leaning, and links with politically incorrect and conspiratorial content.},
	urldate = {2020-05-21},
	journal = {arXiv:2005.01790 [cs]},
	author = {Massachs, Joan and Monti, Corrado and Morales, Gianmarco De Francisci and Bonchi, Francesco},
	month = may,
	year = {2020},
	note = {arXiv: 2005.01790},
	keywords = {91D30, Computer Science - Computers and Society, Computer Science - Social and Information Networks, J.4, K.4}
}
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