Social media is becoming a new battlefield for tobacco "wars". Evaluating the current situation is very crucial for the advocacy of tobacco control in the age of social media. To reveal the impact of tobacco-related user-generated content, this paper characterizes user interaction and social influence utilizing social network analysis and information theoretic approaches. Our empirical studies demonstrate that the exploding pro-tobacco content has long-lasting effects with more active users and broader influence, and reveal the shortage of social media resources in global tobacco control. It is found that the user interaction in the pro-tobacco group is more active, and user-generated content for tobacco promotion is more successful in obtaining user attention. Furthermore, we construct three tobacco-related social networks and investigate the topological patterns of these tobacco-related social networks. We find that the size of the pro-tobacco network overwhelms the others, which suggests a huge number of users are exposed to the pro-tobacco content. These results indicate that the gap between tobacco promotion and tobacco control is widening and tobacco control may be losing ground to tobacco promotion in social media.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Jun 19 2015|
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