Role-aware information spread in online social networks

Alon Bartal, Kathleen M. Jagodnik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Understanding the complex process of information spread in online social networks (OSNs) enables the efficient maximization/minimization of the spread of useful/harmful information. Users assume various roles based on their behaviors while engaging with information in these OSNs. Recent reviews on information spread in OSNs have focused on algorithms and challenges for modeling the local node-to-node cascading paths of viral information. However, they neglected to analyze non-viral information with low reach size that can also spread globally beyond OSN edges (links) via non-neighbors through, for example, pushed information via content recommendation algorithms. Previous reviews have also not fully considered user roles in the spread of information. To address these gaps, we: (i) provide a comprehensive survey of the latest studies on role-aware information spread in OSNs, also addressing the different temporal spreading patterns of viral and non-viral information; (ii) survey modeling approaches that consider structural, non-structural, and hybrid features, and provide a taxonomy of these approaches; (iii) review software platforms for the analysis and visualization of role-aware information spread in OSNs; and (iv) describe how information spread models enable useful applications in OSNs such as detecting influential users. We conclude by highlighting future research directions for studying information spread in OSNs, accounting for dynamic user roles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1542
Issue number11
StatePublished - 19 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


This research received no external funding.Acknowledgments: This work was conducted as part of K.M.J.’s post-doctoral fellowship in the School of Business Administration at Bar-Ilan University. The authors thank the three peer reviewers for their helpful feedback.

FundersFunder number
School of Business Administration at Bar-Ilan University


    • Global information spread
    • Information diffusion
    • Local information spread
    • Non-viral information spread
    • Online social networks
    • Role-aware analysis
    • Social roles
    • User behavior online
    • Viral information spread


    Dive into the research topics of 'Role-aware information spread in online social networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this