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Dynamics and biases of online attention: the case of aircraft crashes

García-Gavilanes, Ruth, Tsvetkova, Milena and Yasseri, Taha (2016) Dynamics and biases of online attention: the case of aircraft crashes. Royal Society Open Science, 3 (10). p. 160460. ISSN 2054-5703

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Identification Number: 10.1098/rsos.160460


The Internet not only has changed the dynamics of our collective attention but also through the transactional log of online activities, provides us with the opportunity to study attention dynamics at scale. In this paper, we particularly study attention to aircraft incidents and accidents using Wikipedia transactional data in two different language editions, English and Spanish. We study both the editorial activities on and the viewership of the articles about airline crashes. We analyse how the level of attention is influenced by different parameters such as number of deaths, airline region, and event locale and date. We find evidence that the attention given by Wikipedia editors to pre-Wikipedia aircraft incidents and accidents depends on the region of the airline for both English and Spanish editions. North American airline companies receive more prompt coverage in English Wikipedia. We also observe that the attention given by Wikipedia visitors is influenced by the airline region but only for events with a high number of deaths. Finally we show that the rate and time span of the decay of attention is independent of the number of deaths and a fast decay within about a week seems to be universal. We discuss the implications of these findings in the context of attention bia

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Sets: Departments > Methodology
Date Deposited: 12 May 2017 11:10
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 03:31
Funders: Google

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