Research: The ISIS Twitter Census by Brookings

ISIS Screenshot at Mar 09 14-31-52

On March 4, 2015, Brookings published a special report targeting the issue of ISIS social media presence. The authors have identified 40,000 ISIS supporters on Twitter. How does it work? What does it mean in the conflicts of 21 century?

The core findings by the researchers are the following:

  • In October through November 2014, at least 46,000 Twitter accounts were used by ISIS supporters.
  • A sample of 20,000 confirmed ISIS supporters was examined to extract demographics data, with a plurality of users apparently residing in the territories controlled by the Islamic State. The second-most common location for ISIS supporters was Saudi Arabia.
  • Nearly one in five ISIS supporting accounts designated English as their primary language. Almost three quarters selected Arabic, and one in 20 selected French.
  • Thousands of accounts have been suspended by Twitter since October 2014, measurably degrading ISIS’s ability to project its propaganda to wider audiences.

Note: last year I published the research on the role of social media in popular protests in Ukraine

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Fake observer from Serbia Dragana Trifkovic joined terrorists in Donbass to love Putin even stronger

Information war against Ukraine run by Kremlin-backed media is supported by pro-Russian puppets, employed by Russian strategists. The recent evidence of this scheme leads to Dragana Trifkovic, a 38-year old woman from Serbia, who joined other foreigners on so-called LNR and DNR elections in Lugansk and Donetsk temporary occupied regions on November 2, 2014. As a Serbian citizen, Trifkovic left many traces of her visit to Donbass via social media – she was posting photos of her meetings with Russian terrorists in Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Known as a supporter of Russia, Trifkovic was linked to neo-Nazi Russian groups and was heavily commented in Twitter.

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On November 9, 2014 she deleted her Twitter account – @DrTrifkovic. Nevertheless, Google cache kept screenshots of her profile:
DRAGANA FB Screenshot at Nov 10 15-27-28

Dragana1 at Nov 10 15-24-29

Dragana 3 Screenshot at Nov 10 15-28-51

While her Twitter account is deleted, her Facebook profile is active. A supporter of terrorists exrpesses her love to Russian President Vladimir Putin:
Dragana - Screenshot at Nov 10 16-00-14

Serbian “expert” might have different reasons to love Putin, but her links to neo-nazi groups in Russia question self-proclaimed good intentions of so called LNR and DNR authorities.

Anton Shehovtsev analyses in his blog.

Kremlin will employ puppet “election monitors” that will “observe” and legitimise the “elections” held by the terrorists. Evidence suggests that two “election monitoring organisations” have been in charge of setting up the “election observation missions” for the DNR/LNR: the Eurasian Observatory of Democracy and Elections (EODE) run by Belgian fascist Luc Michel and the European Centre for Geopolitical Analysis (ECGA) run by Polish far right politician Mateusz Piskorski – both have been in the service of the Kremlin’s foreign policy since 2005-2006.

Trifkovic describes herself as a Director General of Center for Geostrategic Studies in Belgrade and claims she is an author at some Serbian sites, such as Fond Slobodan Jovanović, Geopolitika and Novi Standard. Seems, the intellectual level of Serbian elites is quite low if such experts represent Serbian think tanks.

Belarussian student launched #russiainvadedukraine to alarm international community

Hashtag #russiainvadedukraine was suggested by a student from Belarus who writes by the name @belamova in Twitter. As a result of awareness campaign by Twitter users to inform international community about Russian direct military invasion into Ukraine, the hashtag appaared in Twitter world trends.

According to Topsy data, almost 500,000 tweets with #russiainvadedukraine have been published between August 26-28, 2014. Ukrainian politicians, such as Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and Minister of Foreign Affairs Klimkin used the hashtag in their tweets.

RIU - Screenshot at Aug 30 18-36-02

Here is a link to the article about the user – http://www.belaruspartisan.org/politic/278304/

Россия нервничает в Вильнюсе из-за украинского венка

21 червня 2014 року у Вільнюсі активісти з Німеччини, Литви та України поклали вінок та квіти під посольство РФ у Вільнюсі в пам’ять загиблих українців, загинувших під час російської агресії в Україні.

Охорона посольства  у грубій формі почала вимагати забратися від посольства і невдовзі викликала поліцію. Литовські поліцейські дружелюбно поставилися до учасників акції і виконали формальність – переписали паспортні дані двох учасників акції.

Акцію в Литві ініціював Тобіас Вейхманн, громадянин Німеччини, що проживає в Вільнюсі, створивши подію у Фейсбуці. Задля безпеки учасників, організатор не визначив точний час акції – учасникам пропонувалося приходити під посольства РФ в Литві у зручний для них час 21 червня 2014.

Вільнюс приєднався до глобальної акції покладання вінків до посольств РФ, яка відбувалася у багатьох країнах світу.

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Тобіас замовив вінок напередодні акції і заплатив власні гроші аби підтримати Україну. Фото – Віталій Мороз

Активісти поклали вінок під ворота посольства РФ в Литві

Активісти поклали вінок під ворота посольства РФ в Литві. Фото – Віталій Мороз

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Agenda setting in newsgathering during anti-government protests 2013-2014 in Ukraine. Segment 1 of my thesis

Introduction (pp.8-9)

Alongside the work of professional journalists, the events in Ukraine showed a huge involvement of Internet users and media activists in reporting on the developments in the protests and the conflict with Russia. With the help of modern technologies, such as Twitter, Facebook, Ustream and YouTube, users provided evidence, shared impressions, helped in news gathering and distribution, coordinated efforts, and mobilized supporters for these causes. Social media became a hub for hundreds of grassroots initiatives that mobilized hundreds of thousands of active citizens across Ukraine and worldwide, interested in the Ukrainian events. The scale of such media activism could not be ignored by professional news organizations, and step-by-step they were accepting social media as a source in newsgathering.

The rise of social media use regarding the events in Ukraine showed remarkable numbers. Twitter,  an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short, 140-character text messages called “tweets”, was the fastest way to learn news about the recent events in Ukraine.  In the period of February 10-March 12, 2014, 3,785,648 tweets with the hashtag #ukraine were written by users of Twitter. With the outbreak of the Crimean crisis, the interest in Ukraine on Twitter was comparable to the interest in the 86th Academy Awards ceremony.  Continue reading

“We will never be brothers” – a poetry that sparked in the Internet in Ukraine and Russia

Anastasiya Dmytruk, a Ukrainian poet, wrote a poetry in which she emotionally explained why Ukrainians will never treat Russians as “brothers” after Crimea invasion. The notion of “Slavic brotherhood” has been of the strongest myths in among Russians who claimed the unity among Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

The original poetry was published in YouTube on March 19 and since then it received 1,712,000 views (as of May 20, 2014). Another version with a song performed by Lithuanian singers Virgis Pupšys,Jaronimas Milius,Kęstutis Nevulis,Gintautas Litinskas got 2,278 million views.

Russian users were outraged since the poetry affected their nationalistic feelings. Dozens of replies were published in YouTube, but none of them did not get more views as original one.

Anastasiya Dmytruk has recently published a book of poetries. Find her updates in Facebook – siadmytruk

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Defended: Master’s thesis about the role of social media during the protests in Ukraine

On May 30, 2014, at Emerson College, Boston, I have defended my thesis titled Agenda setting in newsgathering during anti-government protests 2013-2014 in Ukraine. The impact of social media on news organizations. Chair – Prof. Melinda Robins, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director of Journalism Department at Emerson College.

I plan to publish it on this blog soon, now, please find the abstract:

Following the Orange revolution in 2004, popular protests of Ukrainian citizens in 2013-2014 for the second time in the last ten years altered the political regime in the country. In the battle against the corrupt government, protesters have demonstrated a sophisticated use of the Internet and social media tools in news dissemination and mobilization of activism. This study investigates another dimension of the protests – the media effects of social media on news organizations within the framework of agenda setting theory. How user-generated content influenced media coverage of the protests by professional news sites and which issues have been perceived as important for public awareness. Based on a case study of one of the leading news sites and a popular Facebook page initiative, I research the agenda setting on the mainstream media. 

defended

With Dr.Emmanuel Paraschos, Ph.D. and Prof. Melinda Robins, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director