The overwhelming success of online social networks, the key actors in the cosmos of the Web 2.0, has reshaped human interactions on a worldwide scale. To understand the fundamental mechanisms which determine the fate of online social networks at the system level, we describe the digital world as a complex ecosystem of interacting networks. In this paper, we discuss the impact of heterogeneity in network intrinsic fitnesses induced by the competition between an international network, like Facebook, and local services. To this end, we construct a 1:1000 scale model of the digital world enclosing the 80 countries with most Internet users. We show how inter-country social ties induce an increased intrinsic fitness of the international network. Under certain conditions this leads to the extinction of local networks whereas under different conditions local networks can persist and even dominate the international network completely. These findings provide new insights into the possibilities to preserve digital diversity.
More at http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.01368