U.S. Social Media Strategy Can Weaken ISIS Influence on Twitter
Aug 16, 2016
This report examines the ongoing debate about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Arabic Twitter to better understand the Twitter networks of ISIS supporters and opponents, using a mixed-methods analytic approach to identify and characterize in detail both support and opposition networks. The authors draw on community detection algorithms, lexical analysis to identify key themes and content, and social network analysis.
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Arabic language version
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The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), like no other terrorist organization before, has used Twitter and other social media channels to broadcast its message, inspire followers, and recruit new fighters. Though much less heralded, ISIS opponents have also taken to Twitter to castigate the ISIS message. This report draws on publicly available Twitter data to examine this ongoing debate about ISIS on Arabic Twitter and to better understand the networks of ISIS supporters and opponents on Twitter. To support the countermessaging effort and to more deeply understand ISIS supporters and opponents, this study uses a mixed-methods analytic approach to identify and characterize in detail both ISIS support and opposition networks on Twitter. This analytic approach draws on community detection algorithms that help detect interactive communities of Twitter users, lexical analysis that can identify key themes and content for large data sets, and social network analysis.
ISIS Supporters and Opponents on Twitter
ISIS Debate: Community Content
ISIS Debate: Community Structure
Recommendations and Implications
Sunni Community Analysis
The research described in this report was conducted within the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD) of the RAND Corporation.
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