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Article

Сетевое неравенство и структура онлайн-сообществ

Рыков Ю. Г.

The article discuss the structure of virtual communities existing within the social network site «VK» from the perspective of social inequality problem and the issue of «digital divide». Analysis of the structure of online groups formed around HIV/AIDS topic shows, despite the infrastructure factors of a social media platform and consolidating nature of communities the participants’ hierarchy is based on two key resources - the attention and social capital. These resources are distributed extremely unequally according to a power law, and it leads to significant differentiation of users. Thus, social inequality appears in online communities in the form of a network inequality. From the viewpoint of «digital divide» theory the network inequality can be interpreted as a third, deeper level of the digital divide of society.