Truth Frequency Radio
Sep 12, 2014

194516219Political traffic by Arabs on social media overwhelmingly hostile to, suspicious of U.S.

Homeland Security News Wire

Researchers found that a great deal of the political and social traffic by Arabs on social media is deeply hostile to and suspicious of the United States. U.S. officials are concerned that Internet users in the Arab world understand history and current events in ways fundamentally different from the American version. “Suspicion and opposition to U.S. foreign policy appear to be so deep and so widely shared, even by those on opposite sides of other contentious issues, that it’s hard to imagine how the U.S. could begin to rebuild trust,” said one expert.

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) Social Media in Strategic Communication program, launched to help the U.S. government identify misinformation or deception campaigns by adversaries, thereby allowing U.S. agencies to counter them with correct information, has been focused on the Internet traffic on Twitter and YouTube stemming from users in Arab states. There are more than 135 million Internet users across twenty-two Arab states, and seventy-one million of them are on social media networks. Saudi Arabia has the highest percentage (41 percent) of its citizens on Twitter compared to any Arab country.

Researchers report that a great deal of the political and social traffic holds unfavorable views of the United States.

Defense One reports that political scientists Amaney Jamal and Robert Keohane of Princeton and David Romney and Dustin Tingley of Harvard, released a detailed study of anti-Americanism in Arabic language tweets, and found that 45 percent of the Arabic language postings on Twitter is about the United States and most are negative. “The results are striking. Although the ratio of negative to positive tweets is over 3:1 in both social and political categories, the volume of political traffic is nearly four times as great as social traffic,” the study states. Eighty-seven percent of non-news responses to the Boston Marathon bombing were anti-American, and such events are seen as not important (in view of harms done to Arabs in the Middle East by American policy); “the greatest concern is for the welfare of Muslims in the United States; or a conspiracy of American intelligence agencies is viewed as responsible for the allegations,” the authors write.

U.S. officials are concerned that Internet users in the Arab world understand history and current events in ways fundamentally different from the American version. “Suspicion and opposition to U.S. foreign policy appear to be so deep and so widely shared, even by those on opposite sides of other contentious issues, that it’s hard to imagine how the U.S. could begin to rebuild trust,” said foreign policy analyst Joshua Keating. State Department officials also worry that the increasing reliance on social media for news and communications may lead to a generation of Arab Internet users who may be misinformed, considering that several Arab states regulate some Internet content that fails to meet “moral” guidelines.

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