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Journal Articles Journal of the Royal Society Interface Year : 2014

Complex contagion process in spreading of online innovation


Diffusion of innovation can be interpreted as a social spreading phenomenon governed by the impact of media and social interactions. Although these mechanisms have been identified by quantitative theories, their role and relative importance are not entirely understood, as empirical verification has so far been hindered by the lack of appropriate data. Here we analyse a dataset recording the spreading dynamics of the world's largest Voice over Internet Protocol service to empirically support the assumptions behind models of social contagion. We show that the rate of spontaneous service adoption is constant, the probability of adoption via social influence is linearly proportional to the fraction of adopting neighbours, and the rate of service termination is time-invariant and independent of the behaviour of peers. By implementing the detected diffusion mechanisms into a dynamical agent-based model, we are able to emulate the adoption dynamics of the service in several countries worldwide. This approach enables us to make medium-term predictions of service adoption and disclose dependencies between the dynamics of innovation spreading and the socio-economic development of a country.

Dates and versions

hal-01100359 , version 1 (06-01-2015)



Márton Karsai, Gerardo Iñiguez, Kimmo Kaski, János Kertész. Complex contagion process in spreading of online innovation. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2014, 11, pp.20140694. ⟨10.1098/rsif.2014.0694⟩. ⟨hal-01100359⟩
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