Predicting Online Islamophobic Behavior after #ParisAttacks
Journal of Web Science
The tragic Paris terrorist attacks of November 13, 2015 sparked a massive global discussion on Twitter and other social media, with millions of tweets in the first few hours after the attacks. Most of these tweets were condemning the attacks and showing support for Parisians. One of the trending debates related to the attacks concerned possible association between Muslims and terrorism, which resulted in a worldwide debate between those attacking and those defending Islam. In this paper, we use
... this incident as a case study to examine using online social network interactions prior to an event to predict what attitudes will be expressed in response to the event. Specifically, we focus on how a person's online content and network dynamics can be used to predict future attitudes and stance in the aftermath of a major event. In our study, we collected a set of 8.36 million tweets related to the Paris attacks within the 50 hours following the event, of which we identified over 900k tweets mentioning Islam and Muslims. We then quantitatively analyzed users' network interactions and historical tweets to predict their attitudes towards Islam and Muslims. We provide a description of the quantitative results based on the tweet content (hashtags) and network interactions (retweets, replies, and mentions). We analyze two types of data: (1) we use post-event tweets to learn users' stated stance towards Muslims based on sampling methods and crowd-sourced annotations; and (2) we employ pre-event interactions on Twitter to build a classifier to predict post-event stance. We found that pre-event network interactions can predict attitudes towards Muslims Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, or republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from firstname.lastname@example.org. c 2017 ACM. ISBN 978-1-4503-2138-9.