, 20 tweets, 11 min read Read on Twitter
[#Thread] 1/ This one is on the Egypt protests, or rather the hashtag #ميدان_التحرير I gathered a sample of around 21,000 interactions from around 9,700 unique accounts. Quite a lot of accounts considering they are unique. Obviously there will be much chatter about influence ops
2/ I did my usual analysis first. I examined the account metadata to determine the distribution of account creation dates. What I found was quite astonishing. 1484 of the 9713 unique accounts were created in September 2019. That's 15%!
3/ As you can see from the graph, the spike on the right shows the 1484 accounts created in September. Bear in mind the average number of accounts created per month in this sample is just 66. That's a huge difference! What's perhaps more interesting is that the accounts started
4/ started being created in larger numbers on 16th December, perhaps even 15th December. This was before the current protests, but around the same time as the hashtag كفايه_بقى_ياسيسى (that's enough Sisi) went viral - see here for more> middleeasteye.net/news/hashtag-c…
5/ Of course this always begs the question, are the accounts organic - real people signing up in droves to Twitter, perhaps after Mohamed Ali called them to do so in order to protest corruption, or are they dodgy accounts as part of some influence campaign?
6/ I did a rudimentary grouping of the user reported locations on the accounts (not enormously indicative of anything) - but there aren't a huge amount of surprises. Most reported to be in Egypt, then Saudi, then Turkey, then Qatar (cursory, top numbers unlikely to change)
7/ I compared these numbers with the locations of those large number of accounts created in September 2019. The majority of the accounts created in Sept don't have user reported location data (nulls). The rest more or less reflect the order in the previous tweet, Egypt Saudi etc
8/ *Correction* to tweet four (thanks @SumitaPahwa for spotting) I meant to say September and not December...
@SumitaPahwa 9/ The location is important though because a Saudi account is promoting a video, somewhat conspiratorially suggesting thousands of accounts were created with locations in Algeria, Turkey, Qatar and Kuwait by the Muslim Brotherhood. See tweet >
@SumitaPahwa 10/ Although we have different samples, and the screen is fuzzy I can see that @alasmari has not removed duplicates from his sample, which will, if not realized, hugely inflate the perception of the number of accounts created (that's why unique accounts is useful)
@SumitaPahwa @alasmari 11/ They're cropped, but below you can see the most popular retweets in the sample listed from highest to lowest. I can't be bothered to translate them all right now but I will totes share the data later *thumbs up*
@SumitaPahwa @alasmari 12/ Going back to the creation dates, we can see if we zoom in on September 2019 there was a huge leap between the amount of Twitter accounts created on 15th September (72) and 16th September (281) - again - around the time the latest corruption allegations of Sisi caused a stir
@SumitaPahwa @alasmari 13/ For an added bonus, I have done some analysis on the hashtag #ميدان_التحرير_الان (Tahrir Square Now). This involves around 22000 interactions (tweets, retweets, mentions etc) from around 10,200 unique accounts. Time frame: most of the tweets in this sample are from 22nd
@SumitaPahwa @alasmari 14/ As with the other hashtag, a HUGE number of accounts active on #ميدان_التحرير_الان were created in September 2019. - 1769 to be exact. The average number of accounts created per month since around 2007 is only 73! So 1769 represents around 16-17% of the total sample. A lot!
@SumitaPahwa @alasmari 15/ This number is similar to the last hashtag. Most likely they are the same accounts. We can check, but I don't think that will be useful. It's safe to assume there will be much overlap.
@SumitaPahwa @alasmari 16/ The majority of content is retweets. 74% to be specific, 22% of the convo are tweets.
@SumitaPahwa @alasmari 17/ One of the most striking things, the 1700 or so accounts created in September 2019 produced a staggering 378000 tweets! One very spammy account has even produced around 12,000 tweets - go check! twitter.com/T3IQAEaRsE8SMYw
@SumitaPahwa @alasmari 18/ It wouldn't be one of my threads if I didn't mention love. I analysed all the bios of the accounts active on the hashtag and love is there! The 19th most common word, in English no less 😅It appears to be even higher than the ِArabic for love حب , but if you include the
19/ Arabic for various conjugations of love there are actually more, although not a great deal more. Special shoutout to the person who loves music, especially the Bee Gees. #hero
20/ Anyway that's all from me tonight. I am not an Egypt expert by any stretch, but Twitter is interesting. I am genuinely curious as to how someone can remotely whip up such activity in such a short space of time... Night everyone.
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