Microblogging platforms are Web 2.0 services that represent a suitable environment for studying how information is propagated in social networks and how users can become influential. In this work we analyse the impact of the network features and of the users’ behaviour on the information diffusion. Our analysis highlights a strong relation between the level of visibility of a message in the flow of information seen by a user and the probability that the user further disseminates the message. In addition, we also highlight the existence of other latent factors that impact on the dissemination probability, correlated with the properties of the user that generated the message. Considering these results we define an information propagation model that generates information cascades (i.e. flows of messages propagated from user to user) whose statistical properties match empirical observations.