Analysis of Tweets Showcases Hatred Towards Syrian Refugees Among Lebanon’s Elite

Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Egypt

Organisation: InfoTimes

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 15/09/2019

Credit: Mohammad Waked, Ammar Al-Khasawneh, Abdul Rahman Al-Khader, Ahmad Rahal, Manar Abu Hassoun, Aya Nader, Mohamed Zidan, Mohamed Bassiki

Project description:

During the period of our reporting, Lebanon witnessed numerous campaigns and advocacy calls, among which were those triumphing the Syrian cause, or advocating the conditions of refugees in Lebanon. For example, hundreds of Syrian and Lebanese activists have tweeted in the last two years under the hashtag  #عرسال_تستغيث in an attempt to send a distress message about the horrid living conditions refugees endure in camps. s data-driven story revealed that more than half of the tweets included in the analysis sample rejected Syrian refugees. 

Impact reached:

This story created a dialogue surrounding hate speech and the hashtag took over Twitter. The hate speech that emerged through the tweets of some politicians and public figures against Syrian refugees in Lebanon, was not limited to social media, but also turned into forms of aggression in reality. After the story was published, many became aware of the hate speech that was exercised by many politicians and this led to political change in the country. The story was later also republished in Darag (  a Lebanese media outlet) and Serag ( a Syrian media platform). 

Techniques/technologies used:

Analyze the political climate through tweets , and analyzed them using the programming language R and used D3 for visualization. Following the software algorithms, we examined and filtered approximately 238,000 tweets to extract tweets related to the subject of the Syrian asylum in Lebanon. A total of 1,454 tweets were written by 68 Lebanese of the total figures monitored in the search process.

What was the hardest part of this project?

Some  of the twitter accounts of politicians were inactive, which made it difficult to extract current data to analyze. 

What can others learn from this project?

How racism is translated in the from of microagressions and hate speech against Syrian refugees in Lebanon. 

Project links: