Social Media as an Auxiliary News Source

Stephen Bradshaw, Colm O’Riordan, Riad Cheikh

Abstract

Obtaining a balanced view of an issue can be a time consuming and arduous task. A reader using only one source of information is in danger of being exposed to an author’s particular slant on a given issue. For many events, social media provides a range of expressions and views on a topic. In this paper we explore the feasibility of mining alternative data and information-sources to better inform users on the issues associated with a topic. For the purpose of gauging the feasibility of augmenting available content with related information, a text similarity metric is adopted to measure relevance of the auxiliary text. The developed system extracts related content from two distinct social media sources, Reddit and Twitter. The results are evaluated through conducting a user survey on the relevance of the returned results. A two tailed Wilcoxon test is applied to evaluate the relevance of addition information snippets. Our results show that by partaking the experiment a users’ level of awareness is augmented, second, that it is possible to better inform the user with information extract from a online microblogging sites.

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