Special Issue "Information Diffusion in Social Networks"

A special issue of Information (ISSN 2078-2489). This special issue belongs to the section "Information Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 March 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Paolo Pin

Department of Decision Sciences and IGIER, Università Bocconi, Via Roberto Sarfatti, 25, 20100 Milano, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: game theory; social networks; complex networks

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Studying social networks is the basis for understanding many complex phenomena in our societies.

When do social networks help the efficiency of economic and social activities, and when do they, instead, slow down the coordination and accruement of welfare? Do social networks provide a general informal answer to problems of integration and coexistence of different cultures, or do they increase polarization and segregation? The theory of complex networks has shown that the networks of human relations have statistical characteristics (as the so called ‘small world’ property) that accelerate the spread of opinions, but what if the behavior itself of people may either reduce this spread or instead incentivize the propagation of fake news? When is it the case that having wrong beliefs about reality does not only harm a single subject and his social neighbors, but may have cascade effects over a non-negligible portion of the overall society? In this respect, is the case of online social networks different from the case of real world acquaintances?

These are some of the questions at the core of this Special Issue.

Prof. Paolo Pin
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Information is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 850 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • social networks
  • information diffusion
  • opinions
  • echo chambers
  • polarization
  • fake news
  • online social networks

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Exploding Mechanism and Governance of False Information in Public Crises
Authors: Xiaoxia Zhu 1,2, Jiaxin Song 1,  John Gershenson 2 and Jianfang Meng 1,*
1 School of Economics and Management, Yanshan University, Qinghuangdao 066004, China
2 College of Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, PA 16802, United States
Abstract: The sudden outbreak of the public crisis is often accompanied by the false information. The large-scale spread of false information will not only cause panic in the crowd, but it may also trigger a public crisis and cause secondary harm to the society,which puts forward higher demands on the government’s governance. Based on the theory of explosive percolation and combined with SI model, this paper proposes an improved false information dissemination model. Through the analysis of such indicators as the the largest cluster, explosive threshold, cluster merging and diffusion rate, explored the explosive mechanism of the emergence of false information. It is found that there is a threshold for the outbreak of the false information, and the outbreak size is almost zero when the threshold is smaller than the threshold. After the threshold is exceeded, the outbreak will occur rapidly in a short time. False information is most infective in the early stage, and gradually weakened with the increase of simulation steps. Based on this mechanism, this paper presents three kinds of false information governance options: random immunization, target-surrounded immunization, and comprehensive science. The rationality of different situations is verified through simulation experiments. Under the circumstance of frequent occurrence of false information and triggering of public crisis, It is of great significance to study the mechanism of its outbreak on the government intervention.

Title: Exploring Dynamics Intrinsic of Online Social Networks which Facilitate Polarization
Author: Alexander V. Mantzaris
Affiliation: Statistics Department, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA
Abstract: A recent model exploration based upon the Binary Voter Model (BVM) shows that polarization can be prolonged or even temporarily grown by providing a increased choice factor in their inter-connectivity. This feature which is essential for the value of an online social network is typically taken for granted as a exclusively positive feature and examined in this work is a potential feedback effect in how it can facilitate the 'echo-chamber' effects associated with polarization. The simulations provide evidence for these effects and an exploration of a potential inoculation procedure.

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