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    Headlines, Pictures, Likes: Attention to Social Media Newsfeed Post Elements on Smartphones and in Public
    (SAGE Publications, 2024-04) Mayer, Anna-Theresa; Ohme, Jakob; Maslowska, Ewa; Segijn, Claire M.
    Scrolling through a social media newsfeed has become almost ubiquitous. Yet, it remains unknown what specific post elements people pay attention to and whether this varies depending on how they access social media newsfeeds. In an eye-tracking experiment among university students (N = 201), we compare user attention to specific post elements like source, title, or picture, in a dynamic Facebook newsfeed by device (desktop vs. mobile) and smartphone usage environment (private vs. public). Significant attentional differences occur at the level of the newsfeed post elements. Users pay less attention to visual information on the mobile newsfeed and more attention to textual post elements in a public setting.
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    How COVID-19 and the News Shaped Populism in Facebook Comments in Seven European Countries: A Computational Analysis.
    (2024) Thiele, Daniel
    Citizen-generated populism is flourishing in the comments sections of online news. The factors that shape the extent of such populist communication from below are still under-researched. This study focuses on the COVID-19 crisis to examine how contextual and media-related factors are related to the extent of populism in comment sections on Facebook pages of news outlets from seven European countries (AT, DE, FR, IT, NL, SE and UK). Computational text analysis, machine translation and Bayesian multilevel regression were used to analyze digital trace data from 65,258 posts and 3.4 million comments published between February 2020 and June 2021. The computational measurements - multilingual dictionaries for posts and distributed dictionary representation to capture populism in comments - were rigorously validated. The results show that posts referring to the government, experts, COVID-19, and restrictions exhibit higher levels of populism in the comments sections. The stringency of containment policies was positively associated with populism in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands when COVID-19 was mentioned. Lower levels of populism were observed for tabloid media and when news outlets engaged in visible moderation. The implications of these findings beyond the pandemic context and methodological challenges are discussed.
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    COVID-19 and the Internet: Lessons Learned
    (Emerald Publishing Limited, 2023) Stocker, Volker; Lehr, William; Smaragdakis, Georgios; Whalley, Jason; Stocker, Volker; Lehr, William
    The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the ‘real’ world and substantially impacted the virtual world and thus the Internet ecosystem. It has caused a significant exogenous shock that offers a wealth of natural experiments and produced new data about broadband, clouds, and the Internet in times of crisis. In this chapter, we characterise and evaluate the ­evolving impact of the global COVID-19 crisis on traffic patterns and loads and the impact of those on Internet performance from multiple perspectives. While we place a particular focus on deriving insights into how we can better respond to crises and better plan for the post-COVID-19 ‘new nor- mal’, we analyse the impact on and the responses by different actors of the Internet ecosystem across different jurisdictions. With a focus on the USA and Europe, we examine the responses of both public and private actors, with the latter including content and cloud providers, content delivery networks, and Internet service providers (ISPs). This chapter makes two contributions: first, we derive lessons learned for a future post- COVID-19 world to inform non-networking spheres and policy-making; second, the insights gained assist the networking community in better planning for the future.
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    Measuring Mobile Broadband: Challenges and Implications for Policymaking
    (2023) Frías, Zoraida; Lehr, William; Stocker, Volker; Mendo, Luis
    Mobile broadband networks constitute essential infrastructure to enable a wide range of innovative services and use cases anticipated for our digital economy future. Measuring performance is essential in many ways. First, to allow service providers to manage and develop their networks. Second, for the efficient operation of markets, and third, for evidence-based policymaking. In the rapidly evolving digital economy, capabilities for collecting more fine-grained measurements and analytics that deliver insights to enable real-time network management and localized control are expanding. As the fundamental methods used to collect measurement data are changing, the ecosystem of stakeholders with strategic interests in mobile measurement is growing and becoming more complex, posing challenges and opportunities for policymakers. Against the background of this growing complexity, this paper aims to discuss some basic features of a capable and reliable measurement ecosystem for mobile broadband. We document how the mobile broadband measurement ecosystem has changed and discuss its implications on a number of important broadband policy issues.
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    Crisis Communication on Twitter: Differences Between User Types in Top Tweets About the 2015 “Refugee Crisis” in Germany
    (2023) Kapidzic, Sanja; Frey, Felix; Neuberger, Christoph; Stieglitz, Stefan; Mirbabaie, Milad
    The study explores differences between three user types in the top tweets about the 2015 “refugee crisis” in Germany and presents the results of a quantitative content analysis. All tweets with the keyword “Flüchtlinge” posted for a monthlong period following September 13, 2015, the day Germany decided to implement border controls, were collected (N = 763,752). The top 2,495 tweets according to number of retweets were selected for analysis. Differences between news media, public and private actor tweets in topics, tweet characteristics such as tone and opinion expression, links, and specific sentiments toward refugees were analyzed. We found strong differences between the tweets. Public actor tweets were the main source of positive sentiment toward refugees and the main information source on refugee support. News media tweets mostly reflected traditional journalistic norms of impartiality and objectivity, whereas private actor tweets were more diverse in sentiments toward refugees.