Press Freedom Homophily in the Tie Structure of the Global Internet

Date
2018-01-03
Authors
Seo, Hyunjin
Thorson, Stuart
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Abstract
We investigate homophily in the tie structure of the global Internet by estimating Exponential Random Graph models. Specifically, we analyze the extent to which different variables including Gross National Income, geographic proximity, political regime type, and press freedom rating account for the pattern of direct country-to-country Internet connections. Results show that for 2011-2014, but not before, press freedom homophily is significantly predictive of the presence (or absence) of country-to-country Internet connections even when controlling for geographic proximity, bandwidth, and whether or not a country is democratic. The findings provide insights into changes in press freedom around the world and the evolution of the global Internet structure.
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Keywords
Network Analysis of Digital and Social Media, Internet, press freedom, homophily, ERGM, democracy
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