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Online social media in the Syria conflict: encompassing the extremes and the in-betweens

O'Callaghan, Derek and Prucha, Nico and Greene, Derek and Conway, Maura and Cunningham, Padraig and Carthy, Joe (2014) Online social media in the Syria conflict: encompassing the extremes and the in-betweens. IEEE/ACM Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), 2014 . pp. 409-416. ISSN 9781479958788

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The Syria conflict has been described as the most socially mediated in history, with online social media playing a particularly important role. At the same time, the ever-changing landscape of the conflict leads to difficulties in applying analytical approaches taken by other studies of online political activism. Therefore, in this paper, we use an approach that does not require strong prior assumptions or the proposal of an advance hypothesis to analyze Twitter and YouTube activity of a range of protagonists to the conflict, in an attempt to reveal additional insights into the relationships between them. By means of a network representation that combines multiple data views, we uncover communities of accounts falling into four categories that broadly reflect the situation on the ground in Syria. A detailed analysis of selected communities within the anti-regime categories is provided, focusing on their central actors, preferred online platforms, and activity surrounding “real world” events. Our findings indicate that social media activity in Syria is considerably more convoluted than reported in many other studies of online political activism, suggesting that alternative analytical approaches can play an important role in this type of scenario.

Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Jihadi; Social networks; Syria; Twitter
Subjects:Computer Science > Computer networks
Social Sciences > Gender
Computer Science > Visualization
Social Sciences > Terrorism
Computer Science > World Wide Web
Computer Science > Information retrieval
Social Sciences > Political science
DCU Faculties and Centres:Research Initiatives and Centres > Centre for International Studies (CIS)
DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Law and Government
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Copyright Information:© 2014 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other users, including reprinting/ republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted components of this work in other works.
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:20485
Deposited On:26 Feb 2015 09:56 by Maura Conway. Last Modified 26 Feb 2015 09:56

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