Breaking consensus in kinetic opinion formation models on graphons

B. Düring, J. Franceschi, M.-T. Wolfram, M. Zanella

Journal of Nonlinear Science, 34:79,2024 . (Preprint arXiv)

In this work we propose and investigate a strategy to prevent consensus in kinetic models for opinion formation. We consider a large interacting agent system, and assume that agent interactions are driven by compromise as well as self-thinking dynamics and also modulated by an underlying static social network.

This network structure is included using so-called graphons, which modulate the interaction frequency in the corresponding kinetic formulation. We then derive the corresponding limiting Fokker Planck equation, and analyze its large time behavior. This microscopic setting serves as a starting point for the proposed control strategy, which steers agents away from mean opinion and is characterised by a suitable penalization depending on the properties of the graphon. We show that this minimalist approach is very effective by analyzing the quasi-stationary solutions mean-field model in a plurality of graphon structures. Several numerical experiments are also provided the show the effectiveness of the approach in preventing the formation of consensus steering the system towards a declustered state.

Opinion modeling on social media and marketing aspects

Giuseppe Toscani, Andrea Tosin, Mattia Zanella

Physical Review E, 98(2): 022315, 2018. (Preprint arXiv)

We introduce and discuss kinetic models of opinion formation on social networks in which the distribution function depends on both the opinion and the connectivity of the agents. The opinion formation model is subsequently coupled with a kinetic model describing the spreading of popularity of a product on the web through a social network. Numerical experiments on the underlying kinetic models show a good qualitative agreement with some measured trends of hashtags on social media websites and illustrate how companies can take advantage of the network structure to obtain at best the advertisement of their products.

Related popularization article for the Italian blog Madd:Math!: La popolarità delle opinioni



Opinion dynamics over complex networks: kinetic modelling and numerical methods


Giacomo Albi, Lorenzo Pareschi, Mattia Zanella

Kinetic and Related Models, 10(1): 1-32, 2017. (Preprint arXiv)

In this paper we consider the modeling of opinion dynamics over time dependent large scale networks. A kinetic description of the agents’ distribution over the evolving network is considered which combines an opinion update based on binary interactions between agents with a dynamic creation and removal process of new connections. The number of connections of each agent influences the spreading of opinions in the network but also the way connections are created is influenced by the agents’ opinion. The evolution of the network of connections is studied by showing that its asymptotic behavior is consistent both with Poisson distributions and truncated power-laws. In order to study the large time behavior of the opinion dynamics a mean field description is derived which allows to compute exact stationary solutions in some simplified situations. Numerical methods which are capable to describe correctly the large time behavior of the system are also introduced and discussed. Finally, several numerical examples showing the influence of the agents’ number of connections in the opinion dynamics are reported.