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Measuring Sentiment Response to Collective Violence Through Social Media

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The rise in the popularity of social media platforms along with the increased global access to communication technologies presents a unique opportunity to study the interaction between violence and the sentiment of social media users. With the availability of vast amounts of open-source data, through mediums such as Twitter, this study examines the effects of civil conflict between state and non-state actors on the sentiment of Twitter users in the countries of Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines from August 1, 2013, to July 31, 2014. With the continued rise of the megacity, a focus area of this study examines the expressed sentiment within the megacities of Lagos, Karachi, and Manila and analyzes how this can be used to predict sentiment expressed in the rest of the country. From this research, we conclude that collective violence produces emotionally charged sentiment within social media toward both the state and non-state actors across various types of civil conflict. Furthermore, we find that this polarizing sentiment varies among the ethnic groups present in each country. This research also concludes that the sentiments expressed in a megacity can serve as a useful predictor of sentiments expressed throughout the rest of the country.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Information Science
  • Unconventional Warfare

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