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Modeling and analysis of trolls in opinion formation on social networks with a differential game approach
  • Aykut Yıldız ,
  • A. B. Ozguler,
  • Hossein Jond
Aykut Yıldız
TED University

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A. B. Ozguler
Bilkent University
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Hossein Jond
VSB - Technical University of Ostrava
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Trolls are a continuing problem of social media. The question of whether and to what extent trolls alter the natural evolution of opinions plays an important role in coping with the problem. To that end, this paper presents a differential game approach to study the opinion formation of stubborn individuals in online social platforms under the presence of trolls. The proposed framework considers a general information structure of the game that makes it highly intricate. As a result of applying Pontryagin’s maximum principle, the Nash equilibrium solution and corresponding individual trajectories have been derived in explicit forms. As the main contribution, the proposed differential game framework provides the possibility of investigating the influence of the trolls on ordinary stubborn individuals (and vice versa) under the Nash equilibrium as demonstrated in the simulation scenarios. This framework supports multiple trolls and arbitrary final decisions. We have observed that trolls are anxious players whose opinion trajectories fluctuate, and ordinary players can drive them more anxious while they are not affected by the trolls substantially.