Secular vs. Islamist polarization in Egypt on Twitter

Ingmar Weber, Venkata R Kiran Garimella, Alaa Batayneh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We use public data from Twitter, both in English and Arabic, to study the phenomenon of secular vs. Islamist polarization in Twitter. Starting with a set of prominent seed Twitter users from both camps, we follow retweeting edges to obtain an extended network of users with inferred political orientation. We present an in-depth description of the members of the two camps, both in terms of behavior on Twitter and in terms of offline characteristics such as gender. Through the identification of partisan users, we compute a valence on the secular vs. Islamist axis for hashtags and use this information both to analyze topical interests and to quantify how polarized society as a whole is at a given point in time. For the last 12 months, large values on this "polarization barometer" coincided with periods of violence. Tweets are furthermore annotated using hand-crafted dictionaries to quantify the usage of (i) religious terms, (ii) derogatory terms referring to other religions, and (ii) references to charitable acts. The combination of all the information allows us to test and quantify a number of stereo-typical hypotheses such as (i) that religiosity and political Islamism are correlated, (ii) that political Islamism and negative views on other religions are linked, (iii) that religiosity goes hand in hand with charitable giving, and (iv) that the followers of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood are more tightly connected and expressing themselves "in unison" than the secular opposition. Whereas a lot of existing literature on the Arab Spring and the Egyptian Revolution is largely of qualitative and descriptive nature, our contribution lies in providing a quantitative and data-driven analysis of online communication in this dynamic and politically charged part of the world.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2013
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages290-297
Number of pages8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Event2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2013 - Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
Duration: 25 Aug 201328 Aug 2013

Other

Other2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2013
CountryCanada
CityNiagara Falls, ON
Period25/8/1328/8/13

Fingerprint

Barometers
Polarization
Information use
Glossaries
Seed
Communication
Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems

Cite this

Weber, I., Garimella, V. R. K., & Batayneh, A. (2013). Secular vs. Islamist polarization in Egypt on Twitter. In Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2013 (pp. 290-297). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/2492517.2492557

Secular vs. Islamist polarization in Egypt on Twitter. / Weber, Ingmar; Garimella, Venkata R Kiran; Batayneh, Alaa.

Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2013. Association for Computing Machinery, 2013. p. 290-297.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Weber, I, Garimella, VRK & Batayneh, A 2013, Secular vs. Islamist polarization in Egypt on Twitter. in Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2013. Association for Computing Machinery, pp. 290-297, 2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2013, Niagara Falls, ON, Canada, 25/8/13. https://doi.org/10.1145/2492517.2492557
Weber I, Garimella VRK, Batayneh A. Secular vs. Islamist polarization in Egypt on Twitter. In Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2013. Association for Computing Machinery. 2013. p. 290-297 https://doi.org/10.1145/2492517.2492557
Weber, Ingmar ; Garimella, Venkata R Kiran ; Batayneh, Alaa. / Secular vs. Islamist polarization in Egypt on Twitter. Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2013. Association for Computing Machinery, 2013. pp. 290-297
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