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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7(5), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi7050189

The Influence of Geographic Factors on Information Dissemination in Mobile Social Networks in China: Evidence from WeChat

1
College of System Engineering, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, China
2
School of Communication and Design, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510006, China
3
The Naval Factory 902, Shanghai 200083, China
4
School of Mathematics and Big Data, Foshan University, Foshan 528000, China
5
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, 17177 Stockholm, Sweden
6
Division of Infectious Disease, Key Laboratory of Surveillance and Early Warning on Infectious Disease, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 102206, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 March 2018 / Revised: 5 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 May 2018 / Published: 14 May 2018
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Abstract

Mobile social networking services provide efficient and easy communication, enabling users to create, retrieve and disseminate messages on the go while making their messages widely available. Despite growing evidence suggesting that geographic location and distance restrict online communication and interaction patterns, the role of geographic factors on the information dissemination in mobile social networks is often overlooked. We conducted a large-scale analysis on how the geographic factors influence the information dissemination in mobile social networks, by using two different datasets which recorded billions of users’ viewing and forwarding activities corresponding as well as the temporal and geographic information. The effects of two geographic factors, namely location and distance, on the probability and velocity of information dissemination were explored by measuring the geographic distribution of the four key indicators, namely viewing probability, forwarding probability, response time, and decision-making time. The results verify the distance decay effect of the information dissemination probability, and demonstrate that the velocity of information dissemination is not dependent on geographic distance. Furthermore, both the probability and velocity of information dissemination show heterogeneity and diversity of geographic location. Our research makes up for the gap in the relationship between geographic factors and information dissemination in mobile social networks. Our findings can provide suggestions for mobile social services, public opinion regulation and precision marketing. View Full-Text
Keywords: information dissemination; geographic distance; geographic location; spatial-temporal data; user behaviour; mobile social networks; WeChat information dissemination; geographic distance; geographic location; spatial-temporal data; user behaviour; mobile social networks; WeChat
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Liu, L.; Chen, B.; Ai, C.; He, L.; Wang, Y.; Qiu, X.; Lu, X. The Influence of Geographic Factors on Information Dissemination in Mobile Social Networks in China: Evidence from WeChat. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7, 189.

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