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Political Homophily and the Role of Retweeters in the French Twitter Network

Abstract : In this thesis, I separated the French Twitter network from the global Twitter network and detected community structure within this network intending to measure the evolution of levels of homophily concerning the identities of the communities. I wanted to find out if being on Twitter and being a part of a political community on Twitter encourages all types of communities to be increasingly isolated from other communities and thus making it difficult for the Twitter network to act as a 'public sphere' in the Habermasian sense. Secondly, I wanted to check the unique feature of 'Retweeting' on Twitter to investigate who these retweeters are and if political retweeting can be seen as a bridge between elites and masses, which will confirm the deeply hierarchical nature of the Twitter network and thus confirming to Habermas's notion of 'refeudalization of the public sphere'. In this research, I found out that the only cluster that has been progressively diverging over time from the rest of the public sphere belongs to users with extreme nationalistic values and generally belongs to political parties such as Rassemblement National and (some groups in) Les Républicains. The effect of being on Twitter is thus not uniform on all political groups. In the second part of the thesis, I looked closely at the role of political retweeting and I found out that retweeting in the case of Twitter users from Rassemblement National is generally used for ideological reinforcement in a top-down manner rather than for diffusion of ideas to the general public. This observation allows us to see that isolation of one community from the global network can lead to the formation of clusters with high levels of ideological reinforcement, which is also done in a top-down hierarchical manner.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 4:39:27 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 3:45:53 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-03665379, version 1



Muhammad Umer Gurchani. Political Homophily and the Role of Retweeters in the French Twitter Network. Political science. Université Montpellier, 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021MONTD030⟩. ⟨tel-03665379⟩



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