Opinion Formation in the Digital Divide

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The Internet is a public environment where people increasingly share information and exchange opinions. Not everyone can afford the costs of using the Internet, causing online opinions to be distorted in favor of certain social groups. This study examines the effect of the digital divide on opinion formation using the agent-based modeling (ABM) method. It extends the bounded confidence model to incorporate an online context and introduces accessibility and connectivity as new parameters. The simulation results indicate that connected agents are quicker to converge on a certain opinion than disconnected agents. Connected agents form an opinion cluster while disconnected agents are scattered over a broad range of opinions. The results also show that social harmony is harder to achieve as an individual's ability to communicate their own opinion improves. Both connected and disconnected agents are more likely to become a minority with higher accessibility. Disconnected agents are 11 to 14 times more likely to become a minority than connected agents, which suggests that the digital divide may be associated with discrimination. This study provides additional insights for academia as well as practitioners on opinion formation in the digital divide. Research limitations are addressed along with suggested future research directions.
Publisher
J A S S S
Issue Date
2014-01
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Keywords

COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION; FACE-TO-FACE; TRADITIONAL MEDIA; SOCIAL NETWORKS; INTERNET; DYNAMICS; USAGE; BLOG; POLARIZATION; DISCUSSIONS

Citation

JASSS-THE JOURNAL OF ARTIFICIAL SOCIETIES AND SOCIAL SIMULATION, v.17, no.1

ISSN
1460-7425
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/223382
Appears in Collection
MG-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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