Digitale Märkte und Öffentlichkeiten auf Plattformen

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    Cascades or salmons? Longitudinal upstream and downstream effects of political participation
    (2024) Ohme, Jakob; Azrout, Rachid; Moeller, Judith
    Digitally networked and new, unconventional activities allow citizens to participate politically in activities that are low in the effort and risks they bear. At the same time, low-effort types of participation are more loosely connected to democratic political systems, thereby challenging established modes of political decision-making. This can set in motion two competing dynamics: While some citizens move closer to the political system in their activities (upstream effects), others engage in political activities more distant from it (downstream effects). This study investigates non-electoral participation trajectories and tests intra-individual change in political participation types over time, exploring whether such dynamics depend on citizens’ exposure to political information. Utilizing a three-wave panel survey (n = 3490) and random intercept cross-lagged panel models with SEM, we find more evidence for downstream effects but detect overall diverse participation trajectories over time and a potentially crucial role of elections for non-electoral participation trajectories.
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    Understanding scholar-trajectories across scientific periodicals
    (2024) Fan, Yangliu; Blok, Anders; Lehmann, Sune
    Despite the rapid growth in the number of scientific publications, our understanding of author publication trajectories remains limited. Here we propose an embedding-based framework for tracking author trajectories in a geometric space that leverages the information encoded in the publication sequences, namely the list of the consecutive publication venues for each scholar. Using the publication histories of approximately 30,000 social media researchers, we obtain a knowledge space that broadly captures essential information about periodicals as well as complex (inter-)disciplinary structures of science. Based on this space, we study academic success through the prism of movement across scientific periodicals. We use a measure from human mobility, the radius of gyration, to characterize individual scholars' trajectories. Results show that author mobility across periodicals negatively correlates with citations, suggesting that successful scholars tend to publish in a relatively proximal range of periodicals. Overall, our framework discovers intricate structures in large-scale sequential data and provides new ways to explore mobility and trajectory patterns.
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    New methodologies for the digital age? How methods (re-)organize research using social media data
    (2023) Fan, Yangliu; Lehmann, Sune; Blok, Anders
    As “big and broad” social media data continues to expand and become a more prevalent source for research, much remains to be understood about its epistemological and methodological implications. Drawing on an original data set of 12,732 research articles using social media data, we employ a novel dictionary-based approach to map the use of methods. Specifically, our approach draws on a combination of manual coding and embedding-enhanced query expansion. We cluster journals in groups of densely connected research communities to investigate how heterogeneous these groups are in terms of the methods used. First, our results indicate that research in this domain is largely organized by methods. Some communities tend to have a monomethod culture, and others combine methods in novel ways. Comparing practices across communities, we observe that computational methods have penetrated many research areas but not the research space surrounding ethnography. Second, we identify two core axes of variation—social sciences vs. computer science and methodological individualism vs. relationalism—that organize the domain as a whole, suggesting new methodological divisions and debates.
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    In Generative AI we Trust: Can Chatbots Effectively Verify Political Information?
    (arXiv, 2023) Kuznetsova, Elizaveta; Makhortykh, Mykola; Vziatysheva, Victoria; Stolze, Martha; Baghumyan, Ani; Urman, Aleksandra
    This article presents a comparative analysis of the ability of two large language model (LLM)-based chatbots, ChatGPT and Bing Chat, recently rebranded to Microsoft Copilot, to detect veracity of political information. We use AI auditing methodology to investigate how chatbots evaluate true, false, and borderline statements on five topics: COVID-19, Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Holocaust, climate change, and LGBTQ+ related debates. We compare how the chatbots perform in high- and low-resource languages by using prompts in English, Russian, and Ukrainian. Furthermore, we explore the ability of chatbots to evaluate statements according to political communication concepts of disinformation, misinformation, and conspiracy theory, using definition-oriented prompts. We also systematically test how such evaluations are influenced by source bias which we model by attributing specific claims to various political and social actors. The results show high performance of ChatGPT for the baseline veracity evaluation task, with 72 percent of the cases evaluated correctly on average across languages without pre-training. Bing Chat performed worse with a 67 percent accuracy. We observe significant disparities in how chatbots evaluate prompts in high- and low-resource languages and how they adapt their evaluations to political communication concepts with ChatGPT providing more nuanced outputs than Bing Chat. Finally, we find that for some veracity detection-related tasks, the performance of chatbots varied depending on the topic of the statement or the source to which it is attributed. These findings highlight the potential of LLM-based chatbots in tackling different forms of false information in online environments, but also points to the substantial variation in terms of how such potential is realized due to specific factors, such as language of the prompt or the topic.
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    Conditions of Campaigning in Dissonant Public Spheres and Crisis of Democracy
    (2023) Pfetsch, Barbara
    Political campaigns have always been closely related to the technical conditions of media infrastructures, the social conditions of voters, and the political opportunities within which parties and movements compete. As campaigning has developed through the four ages of political communication (Blumler, Citation2015; Norris, Citation2002), it is now shaped by the affordances of digital platforms and networked communication ecologies in addition to legacy media infrastructures. In the environment of hybrid media systems (Chadwick, Citation2013), campaigning has also become hybrid – a task divided between the use of conventional information subsidies and the dynamics of social media and digital platforms (Azari, Citation2016; Wells et al., Citation2016). What is more, contemporary political communications and voter mobilization are taking place under two significant context conditions: dissonant public spheres (Pfetsch, Citation2018) are coinciding with a profound crisis of liberal democracy (Bennett & Livingston, Citation2018). The communication ecology and the state of democracy have produced a style of campaigning that is no longer geared toward a consensus among the established political elites and parties to engage in civilized speech, to conduct fair competition, and to stay within the limits and norms of democracy. In this essay, I shall discuss some of the features and consequences of these contextual conditions. I shall further argue that the coincidence of disrupted democracy and dissonant public spheres is related to profound structural changes in the party organization, campaigning and political leadership.