Collective attention patterns under controlled conditions

Marijn Ten Thij*, Andreas Kaltenbrunner, David Laniado, Yana Volkovich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Increasing concerns over widespread manipulation have led to an examination of how the direct promotion of content affects user behavior. Several studies have hypothesized that promotions exert their effects through a combination of social influence and attention redirection that are presently not well understood. The particulars of the promotion mechanism itself, however, might play an important role. Here we focus on a particular type of promotion mechanism: one that promotes identical content for the entire community of users. Through a large-scale analysis of Wikipedia page-views we show that fundamentally different processes underpin the longitudinal dynamics of user attention and preferences on Wikipedia compared to other promotion systems. Whereas other platforms follow history dependent processes, we found that the effects of community-wide promotions can be modeled using a history independent process. These findings allow to effectively compare view dynamics across online services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100047
Number of pages18
JournalOnline Social Networks and Media
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


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