Month: May 2012

Egyptian skepticism of elections integrity high, social media research indicates 78% of social media users believe elections were rigged

May 29, 2012

DUBAI, UAE (MAY 28, 2012) – A thorough analysis of social media conversations in Egypt indicates the Egyptian social media users are highly skeptical of the integrity of the country’s recent presidential elections. Last week, before voting began in Egypt, SocialEyez released a report indicating Morsy would come out as the leading candidate. The report was based on analysis of thousands of social media conversations.

Social media monitoring and analysis conducted by SocialEyez over May 26-27 showed that, of users commenting on emerging allegations of elections fraud, around 80% believe the accusations to be true. Of these, 20% said that the authorities supervising the election, namely the Higher Presidential Elections Commission, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and the Ministry of Interior conspired to rig the outcome of Egypt’s first post-revolution presidential elections by allowing ineligible voters to cast a ballot in last week’s elections. This figure is derived from a manual analysis of a sample of roughly 5,000 captured comments. SocialEyez captured comments using statistically sound sampling techniques from across multiple social media networks including Facebook, twitter and Masrawy over the past 24 hours.

The allegations emerged on Saturday when a junior police officer lodged a formal complaint with the Public Prosecutor alleging that 900,000 national identity cards had been issued by a group of police officers to constables and Central Security Forces personnel  – who are prohibited by law from voting. The officer claimed that the job title category of the cards had been falsified in order to allow security personnel to vote. Since then, Essam El-Eslambouly, the lawyer of socialist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, who ranked third in the presidential elections, has claimed to be in possession of evidence that as many as 117,000 conscripts received ballots.

Belief that fraudulent ballots had been cast was highest on Twitter (95%), the social networking site Facebook (95%) and Egyptian forums (80%). Twitter and Facebook are the online home of Egypt’s revolutionary opposition and the Egyptian intelligentsia. However, skepticism was also prevalent across news websites (65%), where the influence of the fallen Mubarak regime remains strong and its supporters remain active. Examples of typical comments posted across social networks include: “The military wants to only hand power to a military man. Please get it.”

Egyptian media reported on Sunday, May 27, morning that the HPEC had excluded 117,727 registered electors, determined to be deceased, from the lists of eligible voters two days before the elections, but has yet to comment on the accusations that 117,000 conscripts voted and that 900,000 ID cards had been issued to facilitate voting among non-eligible voters. An analysis of data collected from social media indicates that Egypt’s turbulence is likely to deepen: demands for more “revolutionary action” permeated the social media, including a return to street protests and demonstrations and a “purging” of state institutions.

Findings above are based on daily research, monitoring and analysis conducted by SocialEyez, News Group’s social media monitoring and analysis subsidiary. SocialEyez has been tracking Egyptian attitudes expressed on social media towards emergent presidential candidates since January 2011.

News Group Chief Operating Officer Fadl Al Tarzi described today’s findings as “given there are approximately 12 million social media users vs 51 million eligible voters in Egypt, social media is definitely one important indicator of where Egyptian public opinion stands” on the outcome of last week’s vote. Tarzi said that the “unfiltered, unprompted and unscripted” dialogue across social media can be a valuable addition to rounding out assessments of public opinion extracted through the more conventional channels of public opinion polling and traditional media analysis. “If we were to incorporate all three elements in today’s analysis, we can easily speculate that the Egyptian elections would still face a problem of credibility that will have to be addressed,” he said.

SocialEyez is the region’s largest social media research and analysis agency covering Arabic social media. Its political and commercial units offer services to private sector commercial entities, governments, public sector institutions, non-governmental organizations, academic organizations and think tanks. SocialEyez has become the go-to source for some of the world’s most prestigious consulting firms and international businesses seeking interpretations of political security, stability and risk in the Middle East.

 -END-

About News Group

News Group, a leading media intelligence group, was founded in 2002.  The company and its subsidiaries specialize in the sourcing, distribution, creation, monitoring and analysis of news content in the emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa and the Indian sub-continent. The group includes seven subsidiaries that employ over 300 people. News Group is based in Dubai and operates in 30 countries across the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, primarily through its subsidiaries.

News Group subsidiaries include the region’s largest media monitoring firm, Media Watch Middle East, used by over 100 of the global Fortune 500 companies. News Group advocates integrated media research as most accurate and comprehensive indicator of public opinion, this approach involves traditional + social media analysis + public opinion research.

For the Arabic Version of the above Press Release, kindly click below:

Amr_PRESS RELEASE _Egyptians Vote Rigged ——- Arabic

Egyptian Elections Predictions

May 24, 2012

Social Media Research Indicates Egypt heading for Elections Run-off Between Islamist Candidates

 DUBAI, UAE, May 23, 2012 – Data analyzed by News Group, the region’s leading media intelligence group, shows that voting in Egypt today and tomorrow will conclude in a run-off between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsy and the independent Islamist candidate Abdel Monem Aboul Fotouh.

The findings are based on months of research, monitoring and analysis conducted by SocialEyez, News Group’s social media monitoring and analysis subsidiary. SocialEyez has been tracking Egyptian attitudes expressed on social media towards emergent presidential candidates since May 2011, shortly following the revolutionary overthrow of the Hosni Mubarak regime.

“While one may argue that social media users do not represent the masses in a country like Egypt, our findings have consistently shown that social media can be used to gain an accurate and unbiased understanding of public sentiment” said Fadl Tarzi, Chief Operating Officer of News Group.  “Imagine if you could listen to millions of conversations at once and get analysis and insight into these conversation on a same day basis with no bias, and at a low cost – that’s the power of social media analysis, for the first time in history this is possible”

SocialEyez research results are based on collected data from several hundred thousand user comments and online public opinion polling. SocialEyez estimates that Morsy and Aboul Fotouh are benefitting from the support of 32% and 28%, respectively, of Egypt’s voting public.  The research also shows that remaining contenders, including Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafik, are not likely to gather any substantial support at the polls.

SocialEyez’s political analysis unit has an established track record of accurate analysis, and of detecting trends online before they materialize offline. In 2010, SocialEyez asserted that social media was becoming “a disruptive force” in Arab politics and noted that Mohamed Baradei’s Facebook page was prompting larger numbers of Egyptians to the streets in public protest of the Egyptian regime. Shortly after, SocialEyez detected calls for the revolution trending on Facebook and other social media platforms two weeks before traditional media discussed the possibility of regime change in Egypt. In 2011, it also captured a growing demand online to cut natural gas exports to Israel, and was ahead of the trend in noting the extent of the Salafist movement’s support and massive popularity online. Likewise SocialEyez noted a high risk for violence at the soccer match in Port Said in February 2012, where dozens of football fans were killed.

SocialEyez is the region’s largest social media research and analysis agency covering Arabic social media. Its political and commercial units offer services to private sector commercial entities, governments, public sector institutions, non-governmental organizations, academic organizations and think tanks. SocialEyez has become the go-to source for some of the world’s most prestigious consulting firms and international businesses seeking interpretations of political security, stability and risk in the Middle East.

About News Group

News Group, a leading media intelligence group, was founded in 2002.  The company and its subsidiaries specialize in the sourcing, distribution, creation, monitoring and analysis of news content in the emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa and the Indian sub-continent. The group includes seven subsidiaries that employ over 300 people. News Group is based in Dubai and operates in 30 countries across the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, primarily through its subsidiaries.

News Group subsidiaries include the region’s largest media monitoring firm, Media Watch Middle East, used by over 100 of the global Fortune 500 companies.

For Arabic Version of the above Press Release, please click below:

Press Release-Egyptian Elections-Arabic

Egypt elections predictions – May 2012[slideshare id=13059517&w=425&h=355&sc=no]

Prisoners’ Hunger Strike: The Biggest Ever In Middle East

May 20, 2012

76 days without any food? That is what Bilal Thayb and Thaer Halahleh are going through. This is followed by approximately 1600 others since April 17th; a third of all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.  Their protest centred on demands for more family visits, an end to solitary confinement and an end to “administrative detention” (to be held indefinitely without charge).

During the strike there was already a huge social media echo especially on Twitter and Facebook with users spreading the information and demanding additional support. The final storm of attention and action within the Arab social media sphere rolled over on May 14th with the announcement of the Egyptian-brokered agreement between prisoners and Israel.  Thereby an end of the mass hunger strike was aimed in exchange to end solitary confinement for 19 prisoners and the opportunity for the prisoners to receive visits from their relatives lining in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Moreover Israel agreed to also improve other conditions of detention by letting “administrative detainees” free once they completed their sentence.

On the other hand, posts on Twitter denied the end of the hunger strike. At this stage  of information, Thaer Halaheleh and Bilal Thayeb shall be released within the next month and will  stop to refuse food as soon as they see their documents with their release order.

As regards to all other prisoners, we will see what happens in the next few days and weeks, but for now it is time for the SocialEyez Social Media Buzz for the last few days.

For this Buzz-Report we took a closer look at the user reactions in Palestine, published on Facebook and Twitter.  Due to the different usage, the result depiction of 1779 analyzed posts is divided between Twitter and Facebook.

Thereby 70% of the analyzed comments were from Twitter, mostly related to the Hashtags “PalHunger”, “ThaerHaleleh” and “BilalDiab”, whereas the remaining 30% came from Facebook with the major buzz from the Facebook pages “Halada” and “Q.N.N”.

Microblogs

The analysis of the 1252 tweets/retweets showed that:

  • One fourth of all comments posted updates on the hunger strike and the recent developments, mostly attached with objective sources.
  • One third of all comments actually provided real time updates and personal experiences on the protests and demonstrations organized in solidarity to spread awareness about the hunger strike.
  • 14% of the tweets supported the prisoners by expressing respect and reverence for them and treating them like heroes. This was complemented by 2% of posts, which expressed gratitude for all international activists that took part in the protests and demonstrations across Europe.  Special Information about the critical condition of Bilal Thiab and Thaer Halahleh were given by 12%, while 19% shared pictures and cartoons pertaining to the hunger strike like the campaign on Facebook.
  • The remaining 1% underlined the role of Khader Adnan in sparking a revolution inside Israeli prisons.

Facebook

The majority of the Facebook users who commented on the hunger strike, involved “God” by praying and supporting the prisoners, in the hope of being s released and returned back to their families (60%). Around one tenth of the analyzed comments criticized Arab leaders for not getting involved in this topic and not supporting the Palestinian prisoners, while 4% brought the issue on a higher level by highlighting the importance for the Palestinian set of problems and casting the prisoners’ as heroes that have restored hope. However, 3% claimed, that a protest on Facebook is not enough and called for mobilization and action offline as well.

The remaining 25% took part in the picture campaign to spread awareness about the hunger strike. This social media activism snowballed on May 14, when Millions of Facebook users changed their profile pictures to a generic illustration of a faceless Palestinian prisoner dressed in the typical Israeli prison brown uniform stamped with the acronym of the Israeli Prison System (IPS), Shabas.

Scope Note:

The Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that dominate current discussions on various Social Media platforms. This explicit search was conducted about the Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strike and the search was done manually on Facebook and Twitter. The mentioned posts and comments were captured in both English and Arabic on May 13th and 14th in Palestine.

If you are interested in monitoring any special event, political development or a certain brand/product we welcome you to contact us at info@social-eyez.com. We also appreciate any suggestions and improvements for this Blog. Also follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook-Page to get regular updates regarding future Buzz Reports.

For the Arabic version of the above report, please click below:

Prisoners’ Hunger Strike – Buzz report

A star behind bars: Adel Imam

May 3, 2012

“Don’t know what is more depressing; having to defend #adelimam

 or seeing a lot of people in front of court asking for his head”

In recent news, famous Egyptian comedian Adel Imam was convicted on Feb ‘2, 2012 of using his films and plays as a medium to defame the Islamic faith. Due to the nature and sensitivity around this case, it naturally transitioned into a rapid increase in buzz across the Social Media Milieu.

One of the targeted productions was the movie “Morgan Ahmed Morgan” and the play “Al Zaeem” (“The Leader”), even though the aforementioned had been approved by the Censor Board prior to release. During the course of his acting career, which consisted of over a 100 productions, the 71-year old Egyptian satirically illustrated his country’s political and social landscape. Unfortunately for Adel Imam this resulted in his objection being rejected on April 24th, after which a fine of 1000 Egyptian pounds and a three-month prison sentence were actioned. Consequently an intellectual uproar followed, which could mainly be attributed to the fact that the blow could no longer be cushioned and protected after Mubarak’s regime was repudiated.  Hence a heated debate followed surrounding the suppressing cultural, artificial and social freedom of Egypt.

A sample size of 9851 posts was the basis for this week’s Buzz-Report surrounding Adel Iman, in which we took a closer look at the discussions related to the caseon various social media channels within the Middle East. The research was conducted between the 31st of January and the 26th of April 2012. As  graphically represented below, the vast majority of buzz occurring on social media clustered around February 2nd and April 24th – respectively, the day of the sentence and the court’s final decision to reject the objection.

The bulk of results were mainly gathered from Twitter, in addition to the results captured from message boards, forums and online news media outlets, wherein most of the users expressed a negative sentiment regarding the verdict of Adel Imam. Voices from the film and entertainment industry came together to support him in the struggle for freedom of speech, this was done by means of petitions such as: “The Front of Creativity”. A group of independent writers and filmmakers vowed not to keep silence until the sentence against Imam was revoked.

In addition to the subjective opinion of some users, plenty of posts shared information about the sentence. Retweets emphasized the users’ agreement, for example: “Famous actor, Adel Imam, sentenced to three months in jail for defaming Islam http://goo.gl/kIFz0 #Egypt” (37 retweets, 4 favourite).

But more than the half of all posts were in reference to objective information, for instance news articles, including a short statement of the user’s sentiment towards the verdict. Surprisingly, just a few posts displayed  support for the verdict itself.

Sentiment Analysis was broken down into three categories, in which the majority related the news around the verdict of Adel Imam to political issues which went beyond the realm of the case itself. Approximately one-fourth of all posts were a call for action to support Adel Imam, whilst only a small number of users (10%) either avoided the topic or claimed the verdict was fair.

This was further segregated into those who support the verdict, which made up a 30% share and those who believe that Egypt has more detrimental issues to be concerned about (70%), such as the current political and social situation.

However as previously mentioned and indicated below, the vast majority of users supported Adel Imam (54%) and could not fathom the accusation against him, irrespective of whether they liked the actor as a person or not. In addition a few posts (13%) acknowledged that Imams work is imperative in order for Egyptian society to accurately see a reflection, this resulted in 33% of user posts calling for protests against the verdict.

A large percentage of posts connected the case to a higher political issue. Politically interested users discussed Imams relationship to Mubarak, accused the Muslim Brotherhood, or compared the trial to the case of Sawiris, who was accused for blasphemy after having tweeted cartoons of Mickey and Minnie Mouse wearing conservative Muslim attire. Furthermore, several comments related the trial to a wider context, including the political future of Egypt, the issues regarding freedom of speech and the combination of state and religion or the rising power of Islamists.

Predominantly conversation in Arabic surrounding the discussion itself got a powerful political spin, this was seen when Author Alaa Al-Aswany revealed his own indecision towards the case and asked the Egyptian presidential candidate ‘Abolfotoh’ about his position regarding the Adel Imam case, which was retweeted over 290 times.

In response Dr. Abolfotoh stated that an individual should not have the right to offend Islam. Nevertheless he added that a trial should be the last step after a fundamental discussion. This posts was retweeted more than 420 times:

Similarly, Amre Moussa, a competitor in the Egyptian presidential election, gave voice to the trial (retweeted more than 70 times) mentioning that laws and rules should be modified, ergo more flexible.

In conclusion, this case demonstrated the tremendous impact social media can have on politics. Adel Imam was released and found not guilty. Could this be a sign for further political developments in Egypt?

Scope Note:

The Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that dominate current discussions on various Social Media platforms. This explicit search was conducted about the verdict for Adel Imam, covering the Middle East. The mentioned posts and comments were captured in both English and Arabic from the 31st of January to the 26th of April 2012. The keyword for the search was “Adel Imam” in different spelling variations and hashtags in both Arabic and English and was afterwards checked manually.

If you are interested in monitoring any special event, political development or a certain brand/product we welcome you to contact us at info@social-eyez.com. We also appreciate any suggestions and improvements for this Blog. Also follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook-Page to get regular updates regarding future Buzz Reports.