Predicting protests via tweets

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Science  18 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6267, pp. 1488-1489
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6267.1488-d

Although many investigations have attempted to link the use of social media with protests, they have usually been based on events occurring in one country. Steinert-Threlkeld et al. collected nearly 14 million tweets and protest records from 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa from 1 November 2010, through 31 December 2011, which includes the period of the Arab Spring protests. They studied the coordination of tweets (i.e., the progressive use of smaller numbers of protest-related hashtags by multiple users) and found that increased coordination was strongly associated with increased protests the next day. This was not the result of a few highly tweeted events or a few digital activists or international attempts to draw attention to the events.

EPJ Data Sci. 10.1140/epjds/s13688-015-0056-y (2015).

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