FailedRevolutions: Using Twitter to study the antecedents of ISIS support

Walid Magdy, Kareem Darwish, Ingmar Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lately, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has managed to control large parts of Syria and Iraq. To better understand the roots of support for ISIS, we present a study using Twitter data. We collected a large number of Arabic tweets referring to ISIS and classified them as pro-ISIS or anti-ISIS. We then analyzed the historical timelines of both user groups and looked at their pre-ISIS period to gain insights into the antecedents of support. Also, we built a classifier to ‘predict’, in retrospect, who will support or oppose the group. We show that ISIS supporters largely differ from ISIS opposition in that the former referred a lot more to Arab Spring uprisings that failed than the latter.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFirst Monday
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2016


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