Month: February 2013

The Weekly Top 5 — February 17-21, 2013

February 21, 2013

As of the first week of January, we added a new feature to the Buzz Report: the Weekly Top 5. The Weekly Top 5 report highlights the top five subjects from five different discussion categories that generated the largest volume of discussion across Arabic language social media platforms on a weekly basis. The report is derived from crawling the web and indexing hundreds of thousands of Arabic-language, user-generated results on a daily basis. A more thorough explanation of our methodology follows the report. The Weekly Top 5 represents data collected throughout the Sunday-Thursday work week in the Arab world.

Politics, Religion, Media, Art, Society

The greatest buzz this week, with a volume of 13,086 comments, was created by Egyptian presidential adviser Bassem Zarqa’s resignation following President Mohamed Morsi’s dismissal of his Salafist advisor for environmental affairs, Khaled Alam-Eddin. Zarqa’s resignation was part of an angry Salafist reaction to Alam-Eddin’s dismissal over an alleged abuse of his position. The Salafist Al-Nour Party—a former Muslim Brotherhood ally—lashed out against the Brotherhood and the ruling Freedom and Justice Party, as some Salafist figures used social media to accuse Morsi of being complicit in the murder of peaceful protesters. Meanwhile, they pointed out that Alam-Eddin was dismissed without evidence or even any legal investigations. Al-Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar tweeted: “If the Presidency dismisses people upon suspicion, then the President himself must resign because some of his subordinates are suspected of the intentional murder of protesters.”

Anti-Brotherhood users like prominent writer Belal Fadl, gloated at the rift between the Salafists and the Brtoherhood. On his Twitter account, Fadl mocked Salafsits for once claiming that Morsi was a descendent of the companions of the Prophet: “I warn my brothers in Al-Nour Party not to insult President Mohamed Morsi since he is a gift from God, and until we give the gift back, do not curse the faithful spare tyre president.”

However, some feared that the feud was staged to drive people’s attention away from other important matters, while others attacked the Salafists their back on the Brotherhood for their own personal vendetta, not for the interests of Egyptians as a whole. Meanwhile, Brotherhood sympathizers urged the two Islamist parties to work on bridging the rift between them. Facebook user Amer Anwar wrote: “May God unite the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists to glorify Islam. Seculars, former regime remnants and the Church will crack our lines. We are brothers in Islam.”

In the category of religion, Egyptian preacher Amr Khaled continued to post his daily religious advice on his Facebook page every morning to inspire happiness and optimism in his fans. This week, he urged his fans to count God’s blessings and thank Him for them, as well as make the most of one’s youth in worshipping God before they become old and senile. He wrote: “It is a new day. Look around you and see things brightly. Sure you will find beauty, happiness, and satisfaction.”

In addition, in a new episode of his daily radio show A Smile of Hope, Khaled narrated a story about one of the Prophet Mohammad’s companions, Othamn ibn Talha, and his loyalty to one of the Prophet’s wives, Om Salama. The moral of the story encourages good manners to friends and foes alike. Responding to the story, Maalem Mahmoud wrote: “See how Arabs used to be… very honest, very honorable! Islam surfaced to stress the importance of good manners.”

User attitudes towards Khaled were generally positive, and some had high expectations of the popular preacher. User Moshira Ibrahem said: “I hope you run for presidential elections because Egypt needs someone as loyal as you are.”

Meanwhile, on Sa7i YouTube channel, stand-up comedy ‘Broadcast Show’ launched its second season premiere. The first episode of the Saudi satirical show stole the number one spot in the media category with 6,768 comments.  Show host Ibrahim Saleh mocked fellow radio host Badr Al-Zeidan’s voice and manner of speech. The episode also criticized Saudi parents’ desire to see their children become a copy of their friends’ children.

As is often the case among Saudi users, some said they enjoyed the show, but criticized the music played on it, which they considered to be prohibited by Islamic laws. User Rooz44444 commented: “I hope you remove the music in the coming episodes.”

Others were disappointed at the episode, which did not measure up to other successful episodes of Saleh’s show. Oussama M El Saini wrote: “It is a mediocre episode dear friend. We expect the best to come.”

Finally, some praised Saleh’s pure voice and asked him to consider a career in music: “I replayed the video over and over again. His voice is so sweet,” said Mjkiuhful.

In the art and entertainment world, a feud between Lebanese singer Haifa Wahbe and her sister Rola over the singer’s age generated the largest buzz in art category with 3,587 comments. Rola accused her sister of forging her passport, releasing copies of the authentic passport to expose Haifa’s real age.

The majority of users, however, praised the Lebanese singer and attacked her sister. Male users in particular admired Haifa, whom they described as the perfect woman of their dreams, regardless of her age.  User Mohamed Salah Sliem Kesho  wrote: “41 or 50, she rocks, she is very very hot! Hahaha.”

Others, however, said that Haifa’s beauty was the result of a series of plastic surgeries and say that many Arab women had more natural beauty. User Meaningless Life commented: “OK now I know her age, now what? She is patched up by plastic surgeons, but so?”

On another note, some users attacked Rola, whom they considered “ungrateful” for trying to defame her sister after accepting financial aid from her. User Noha wrote: “I have long known that her sister was wicked. Haifa paid for her college education at the American University in Beirut. But she is blinded by jealousy.” Others, however, suspect the feud was just a game between the sisters ahead of the singer’s new album release. Some ask Arab media to focus on important issues instead of these “trivial” stories.

Finally, in the society category, an HIV-contaminated blood transfusion in a Saudi hospital grabbed users’ attention, generating 3,529 comments. The Saudi Ministry of Health dismissed seven senior officials involved in an HIV-contaminated blood transfusion given to 13-year-old Reham Al-Hakimi. The director general, the medical director, the directors of the laboratory and blood bank and the technical supervisor of  the blood bank at Jazan General Hospital were all removed from their offices.

Some social media users were satisfied with the actions taken by the Ministry of Health, which they said were unprecedented in the Kingdom. M.Khaled al-Alkamy tweeted: “Let’s be realistic. This is an unprecedented step. See how many health officials have been removed!”

On the other hand, some said that this was not enough and asked the Health Minister himself to resign. User Hamza Bin Ibrahim wrote: “The health minister didn’t resign yet! He is such an insensitive and irresponsible man!”

Finally, some users recommended paying Reham a huge compensation to help her afford good health care instead of spending large sums of money on “blood money” for killers and criminals. User Mansour commented: “They must pay millions to the girl’s family, like the millions they spend as blood money.

Methodology

These results above are extracted from thousands of social media sources such as blogs, microblogs, forums, message boards, readers’ comment sections on news websites, etc, which are continually updated. A team of Arabic social media researchers and Arabic social media analysts use Arabic Natural Language Processing and data mining tools to analyze the data and to extract the list of top five subjects, based primarily on keyword repetition.

The Weekly Top 5 displays results of the common Sunday-Thursday work week in the Arab world, and is solely focused on Arabic language user-generated results, classified by volume of comments/discussion.

Data is captured primarily from 17 Arab countries in North Africa, the Levant, and the Arab Gulf region, and when relevant, the five other Arabic speaking countries belonging to the Arab League (Sudan, Somalia, Comoros, Djibouti and Mauritania).

The Weekly Top 5 February 10-14

February 17, 2013

As of the first week of January, we’ve added a new feature to the Buzz Report: the Weekly Top 5. The Weekly Top 5 report highlights the top five subjects which generated the largest volume of discussion across Arabic language social media platforms on a weekly basis. The report is derived from crawling the web and indexing hundreds of thousands of Arabic-language, user-generated results on a daily basis. A more thorough explanation of our methodology follows the report. The Weekly Top 5 represents data collected throughout the Sunday-Thursday work week in the Arab world.

In contrast to many of the past weeks, this week’s top topic was a more “light-weight” item in the society category. With a whopping 17,455 comments, the breakup of Saudi football player Naif Hazazi and Yemeni singer Balqees Fathi took the lead in this week’s top five. Fathi had announced on Twitter that she and Hazazi had broken off their engagement for personal reasons, after which the Saudi player also confirmed the news on his Twitter account.

Some users said they expected the relationship to fail, as do all marriages between Saudi men and non-Saudi women. Abu Hussam urged the Saudi player to marry a Saudi woman instead: “I tell Naif that you shouldn’t look for women outside your home; you’ll be humiliated!”

Others blamed the Yemeni singer for Hazazi’s deteriorating performance on the field, hinting that he prioritized his fiancée at the expense of his training. Ali Hisham tweeted: “Naif is the reason his team Al-Ittihad is deteriorating. It all started when they announced their engagement.”

Meanwhile, some claimed that Fathi was seeking financial gains from the Saudi footballer and left them once she got what she wanted. User  Leader of Challenge said: “Balqees fooled Naif. Nobody knew who she was before their engagement. She got fame and money, then kissed him bye bye.”

In the politics category, 33% of the volume was related to celebrations or demonstrations marking the anniversaries of the Arab Spring uprisings in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. The table below shows the volume generated by each of the topics related to the Arab Spring anniversaries, among which the Bahraini protests garnered the largest volume of 10,582 comments.Arab Spring Anniversaries

While February 14 marks Valentine’s Day in most people’s minds, in Bahrain, it marks the anniversary of the uprising against the regime of King Hamad bin Khalifa. Bahraini protesters took to the streets with plans to hold a sit-in at Pearl Square—the heart of the 2011 anti-regime protests—while the Coalition of the 14 Febraury Youth had earlier called for nation-wide civil disobedience. On its part, the Bahraini government asked citizens to report attempts to force people to go on strike.

User reactions fell into three main trends. The first were angry at the police’s brutal crackdown on the demonstrations and their targeting of peaceful protesters and breaking into people’s homes. These often shared videos and photos of those wounded by police fire or tear gas and called on international rights groups to interfere to end the violence. Referring to the Bahraini security forces, user Ali Ahmed Al-Faraj wrote: “They are foreign mercenaries. We must stop them from what they are doing!!! They must not cross the line.”

The second attacked the protesters and supported the government, accusing the opposition’s Al-Wefaq of inciting people to participate in the civil disobedience. User Syriano commented: “The situation will not calm down unless the dirty Shiites have been kicked out of the country. They are Iranian agents and here they are inciting chaos and sedition.”

Finally, a third group of users demanded dialogue as the only solution to the crisis and said that each of the conflicting parties believed they were above the law.Week 7 infographics

Meanwhile, Amr Khaled once again took the lead in the religion category as he urged his fans to follow God’s path and feed the poor. The popular Egyptian preacher posted on his Facebook page that people must always follow God’s path because while humans forsake their friends, God never abandons His worshippers. In response, the majority of users agreed with Khaled and prayed that God lead him to the right path.

On another note, Khaled urged parents to befriend their children and try to get closer to them. Users stressed the importance of the family in childrearing. They also lauded the new episode of Khaled’s radio show, A Smile of Hope, in which he narrates a story from Medina, Saudi Arabia, in an effort to encourage people to feed the poor.  User  Samar Madkour commented: “May God bestow His graces on your children sweet person. But what about making an episode about child education, and the mistakes parents make while bringing up their kids.”

However, not all users were pleased with Khaled, as many chastised him and other preachers for ignoring the crisis in Syria. User Al Aqsa Sniper said: “May God punish you Mr. Khaled…why don’t you say anything about the turmoil in the Arab World. I have lost faith in you, like many others.”

In Sports, the top buzz was created by the conclusion of the 2013 African Cup of Nations with a victory for Nigeria. Defeating Burkina Faso 1-0, Nigeria became a three-time winner of the African championship. Users across the Arab world showed interest in the final match, the majority expressing surprise that Burkina Faso reached this stage in the tournament.  MT tweeted: “Nigeria and Burkina Faso in the final today :D! Who could have imagined? :D”

Users disagreed, however, on which of the two teams deserved to win. While Moroccan users in particular congratulated Nigerians on their victory, Algerian users were wishing for a victory for a Burkinabe victory. The latter also lauded the Algerian referee during the final match, commenting that he was a good representative of their country. User Mourad Mahdi wrote: “I wish Burkina Faso were the winners. They deserved to win their first Cup!” Another Algerian user, Med Hmd, said: “Referee  Djamel Haimoudi is 100% perfect. He is the best referee in Africa.”

Finally, the only topic in the media category this week was an Egyptian court order to block access to Youtube for one month to punish the video-sharing website for refusing to remove a US-made anti-Islam film that sparked a violent wave of anger in September of 2012. Some users feared that the YouTube block would prevent Egyptians from having access to all types of information available on the video-sharing website and mark the beginning of a ban on websites that expose the violation of the Muslim Brotherhood and their government.  They also added that the verdict was a blatant violation of the personal choices of internet users who have the right to select whatever content they wish to view.

Facebook user Samir Beshir said: “The verdict is meant to block the websites that expose the regime and their Brotherhood. This is the beginning of oppression of freedoms. The verdict will force the government to buy state-of-the-art equipment to implement the block when Egypt is in tight living conditions.”

Another group of users mocked the Egyptian judicial system and accused judges of being out of touch with the realities of present-day technology, which would make this ban difficult to impose. On the popular news website Youm7, reader Ayoub commented: “Seems that the judge doesn’t have the slightest knowledge of information technology. There are some spaces that cannot be blocked technically. Perhaps we should enroll the judge and their ministry in illiteracy classes.”

Still, others considered the verdict as a victory for the Prophet Mohammad against those who insult him or insult Islam. Islam Elhalaby tweeted: “The YouTube ban is our victory for the sake of the Prophet Mohammad.”

Methodology

These results above are extracted from thousands of social media sources such as blogs, microblogs, forums, message boards, readers’ comment sections on news websites, etc, which are continually updated. A team of Arabic social media researchers and Arabic social media analysts use Arabic Natural Language Processing and data mining tools to analyze the data and to extract the list of top five subjects, based primarily on keyword repetition.

The Weekly Top 5 displays results of the common Sunday-Thursday work week in the Arab world, and is solely focused on Arabic language user-generated results, classified by volume of comments/discussion.

Data is captured primarily from 17 Arab countries in North Africa, the Levant, and the Arab Gulf region, and when relevant, the five other Arabic speaking countries belonging to the Arab League (Sudan, Somalia, Comoros, Djibouti and Mauritania).

 

المحطات الشهرية الرئيسة في الإعلام الاجتماعي لعام 2012

February 10, 2013

Arabic Timeline

حادث “تفحيط السيارات” يحصد المرتبة الأولى في حجم التعليقات للعام 2012

حصد خبر الإصابة الحرجة لابن واعظ سعودي في حادث انحراف سيارة خلال لعبة “تفحيط للسيارات” أعلى حجم من التعليقات على منصات الإعلام الاجتماعي باللغة العربية للعام 2012. وقد أصيب الفتى البالغ من العمر عشر سنوات – وهو ابن الداعية السعودي طارق الحبيب عبد الإله – عندما انحرفت سيارتان عن مسارهما خلال أدائهما للعبة التفحيط في 25 سبتمبر 2012 والذي يصادف اليوم الوطني للمملكة العربية السعودية. وقد نتج عن هذا الحدث1,121,549  تعليقا ليتصدر بذلك أكثر الموضوعات التي تم التعليق عليها لهذا العام، يليه خبر نجاح المغني المغربي مراد بوريكي في الموسم الأول لبرنامج “أحلى صوت” في ديسمبر (912,351)، ثم المرسوم الرئاسي المثير للجدل الذي أصدره الرئيس المصري محمد مرسي في 25 نوفمبر (895,818).

يعكس الحجم الكبير من التعليقات على موضوع حادث “تفحيط السيارات” الاهتمام المستمر لمستخدمي منصات الإعلام الاجتماعي بخطر رياضة السيارات هذه. وقد حُظرت هذه الرياضة في المملكة العربية السعودية، مع إمكانية توجيه تهمة القتل نتيجة الإهمال لممارسيها وعقوبتها الإعدام. وبالرغم من ذلك تحظى هذه الرياضه بشعبية كبيرة بين الشباب في المملكة. وبالإمكان مشاهدة مقاطع فيديو لرياضة “تفحيط السيارات” والتي ينتج عن بعضها إصابات خطيرة ومميتة على موقع اليوتوب. كما يشير الحجم الكبير للتعليقات على هذا الموضوع إلى توجه مهم لمستخدمي منصات الإعلام الاجتماعي باللغة العربية – والذي لاحظناه خلال العام المنصرم – وهو النمو المتزايد للأحاديث حول الأخبار الشخصية والمهنية للدعاة في المنطقة العربية ونشاطاتهم على أرض الواقع ومن خلال العالم الافتراضي (حيث يتبع الداعية الإسلامي طارق الحبيب وحده على موقع تويتر مايقارب1.7  مليون متابع).

يوثق الجدول الزمني أكثر ثلاثة موضوعات شهدت نقاشا حسب حجم التعليقات في كل شهر للعام 2012. وتم استخراج هذه الموضوعات من المعلومات التي تم تجميعها على مدار العام والتي ترصد أكثر عشرة موضوعات رائجة يوميا من الأحد إلى الخميس. ولاحظنا عند استخلاص المعلومات للموضوعات العشرة الأكثر رواجا في كل شهر، أن موضوع الحادث الذي تعرض له ابن الداعية السعودي قد احتل المرتبة الأولى للموضوعات العشرة الرائجة في عشرة أشهر من الشهور الاثني عشر خلال العام المنصرم.

وحسب حجم التعليقات، فإن تتويج المغربي مراد بوريكي كأحلى صوت في المنطقة العربية وذلك في الموسم الأول لبرنامج “أحلى صوت” بنسخته العربية احتل المرتبة الثانية من الموضوعات الأكثر رواجا. وقد وصل برنامج “أحلى صوت” إلى قائمة الموضوعات العشرة الأكثر رواجا خمس مرات مختلفة بين 9 نوفمبر – وهو اليوم الذي بدأ بثه على قناة MBC – و19 ديسمبر عندما عاد بوريكي إلى المغرب حاملا اللقب، ليبلغ المجموع الكلي للتعليقات1,521,564 .

وأخيرا، كان قرار الرئيس المصري محمد مرسي المثير للجدل في 25 نوفمبر والذي نص على أن “الإعلانات الدستورية والقوانين والقرارات الصادرة عن رئيس الجمهورية منذ توليه السلطة نهائية ونافذة بذاتها وغير قابلة للطعن عليها بأية طريقة، ولا يجوز التعرض لقرارات الرئيس بوقف التنفيذ أو الإلغاء من قبل أية جهة قضائية” قد احتل المرتبة الثالثة للموضوعات الأكثر نقاشا على وسائل الإعلام الاجتماعي. قد يبدو من غير البديهي أن مثل هذا الحدث الكبير في أكبر الدول العربية من حيث عدد السكان، ومعدلات انتشار للإنترنت واستخدام وسائل الإعلام الاجتماعي، ومع مدى تأثير مثل هذا القرار إقليميا وعالميا، أن يأتي في المركز الثالث فقط بعد موضوعات محلية للغاية (كما هو الحال مع خبر حادث ابن الداعية السعودي) وموضوع آخر أخف مثل “أحلى صوت.”

ومع ذلك، فإن البيانات الواردة أعلاه لا توفر سوى لمحة سريعة عن حجم التعليقات على منصات الإعلام الاجتماعي واهتمام المستخدمين بنقاط معينة أثناء السنة؛ ونحن لا نقول إن الحجم يعادل أهمية القضية من وجهة نظر مستخدمي وسائل الإعلام الاجتماعي، فذلك لا يمكن تقييمه إلا من خلال مقاييس أخرى لتحليل النقاش الدائر على وسائل الإعلام الاجتماعي. قد تشمل هذه المقاييس تكرار النقاش والموضوعات ذات الصلة. على سبيل المثال، قبل أن يصل النقاش حول برنامج “أحلى الصوت” ذروته في 16 من ديسمبر مع فوز البوريكي (912,351 تعليقا)، وصل برنامج “أحلى صوت” إلى تقرير الموضوعات العشرة الأكثر نقاشا في 11 نوفمبر (53,172 تعليقا) و21 نوفمبر (30,987 تعليقا) ومرتين بعد ذلك في 17 ديسمبر عندما فرح المغربيون بفوز المغربي البوريكي (22,935 تعليقا) وفي 19 ديسمبر عندما عاد البوريكي إلى المغرب (23,529 تعليقا). (المجموع الكلي: 1,521,564).

ومع ذلك، عند رصد النقاشات المتصلة بالمرسوم الرئاسي لمحمد مرسي في 25 نوفمبر وحتى ما بعد نهاية السنة، فاق حجم التعليقات حول هذا الموضوع التعليقات حول برنامج “أحلى صوت”، مع حجم كلي وصل إلى 2,807,706 تعليقات.

25 نوفمبر:          قضاة مصر يدعون للإضراب (463,276) تعليقا)

مصر منقسمة بشأن المرسوم الرئاسي الذي أصدره مرسي (895,818 تعليقا)

28 نوفمبر:          مظاهرات ضد مرسي تجتاح مصر 257,719) تعليقا)

6 ديسمبر:           اشتباكات عنيفة بين أنصار مرسي والمعارضين حول الدستور (292,831 تعليقا)

9 ديسمبر:           مصر منقسمة بعد خطاب مرسي الذي وجهه للشعب (344,553 تعليقا)

16 ديسمبر:          المصريون ينتظرون نتائج الاستفتاء على الدستور المتنازع عليه (553,509 تعليقات)

المنهجية

تم استخراج الـ 36 موضوعا الأكثر مناقشة من خلال رصد الموضوعات العشرة الأكثر رواجا في العالم العربي على أساس يومي على مدار الأسبوع من الأحد حتى الخميس – وهي أيام العمل في المنطقة العربية – حيث نقوم برصد وجمع البيانات من الموضوعات التي تولد أكبر حجم للمناقشة عبر منصات الإعلام الاجتماعي باللغة العربية على أساس يومي.

يتم التوصل إلى الموضوعات العشرة الأكثر رواجا من خلال تصفح شبكة الإنترنت، ورصد أكثر من200,000  نتيجة باللغة العربية يوميا. وتستخرج هذه الآلاف من مصادر وسائل الإعلام الاجتماعي مثل المدونات، والمدونات المصغرة، والمنتديات، وتعليقات القراء على المواقع الإخبارية وغيرها، والتي يتم تحديثها باستمرار. يقوم فريق من الباحثين العرب في وسائل الإعلام الاجتماعي ومحللي وسائل الإعلام الاجتماعي العربية باستخدام أدوات المعالجة الطبيعية للغة العربية وأدوات البحث عن البيانات لتحليل البيانات واستخلاص قائمة بالموضوعات العشرة الأكثر تداولا، التي تستند في المقام الأول إلى الكلمات الأكثر تكرارا؛ ثم يركزون على النتائج الظاهرة باللغة العربية ويصنفون هذه النتائج وفقا لحجم التعليقات/المناقشات. يتم جمع البيانات في المقام الأول من 17 دولة عربية في شمال أفريقيا، والمشرق العربي، ومنطقة الخليج العربي، وعند اللزوم من خمسة بلدان أخرى ناطقة بالعربية وتابعة لجامعة الدول العربية – السودان والصومال وجزر القمر وجيبوتي وموريتانيا

The Weekly Top 5 February 2-7, 2013

February 8, 2013

Beginning in January, we added a new feature to the Buzz Report: the Weekly Top 5. The Weekly Top 5 report highlights the top five subjects which generated the largest volume of discussion across Arabic language social media platforms on a weekly basis. The report is derived from crawling the web and indexing hundreds of thousands of Arabic-language, user-generated results on a daily basis. A more thorough explanation of our methodology follows the report. The Weekly Top 5 represents data collected throughout the Sunday-Thursday work week in the Arab world.

Moving into the second month of 2013, Politics comprised nearly 74% of this week’s buzz, driven largely by the violence in Egypt, as well as the killing of a Tunisian opposition activist. Discussions in the Society and Art categories followed at 14% and 9%, respectively.

The top social media buzz generator this week was about Egyptian protestor Hamada Saber, 48. TV cameras filmed riot police stripping the man naked, dragging him and beating him in a protest outside the presidential palace. Discussions of this incident generated a total of 83,551 comments, though mentions of Saber occurred frequently in other related topics throughout the week. The chart below details the most discussed topics in the politics category:Politics

The footage of the violence stirred an array of angry user comments. Initially users sympathized with the man, but shortly after reacted with indignation after he asserted during an investigation that the police had merely rescued him from protesters who had been beating him. Some users accused the Muslim Brotherhood and the police of using a carrot-and-stick approach to coerce Saber into blaming protesters. Karim Nasr commented: “He is a poor man, his wife is poor too. The Brotherhood and the police have certainly threatened to kill him or his family. Put yourselves in the shoes of those people who have no-one to support them.” User The Poor supported the view of his peer: “Morsi’s policies of turning the poor poorer and the kissing the rich’s boots have been laid bare. Morsi’s haphazard, chaotic policies are naked now. No one will cover them now!”

The sight of Saber brought to users’ minds the memory of Khaled Said, the 28 year-old activist who was tortured to death by plain-cloth police six months before the 2011 Egyptian uprising erupted, toppling the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak. Users compared Morsi to Mubarak and described the two men as “two sides of the same coin.” Amr Saleh wrote: “And we will be beaten more and more, because no-one loves this country, everybody is looking [after] their own good.” The anger of users peaked after Saber changed his testimony at the prosecution’s office, confessing that police had beaten him. Some sympathized with him, being a poor man, while others described him as a liar and supporter of the former regime. Mour Nanousa harshly disparaged him: “This man is too little to feel sad for. He is a LIAR, and cheap. It’s enough that he tricked the whole world and sold himself.”

Following the issue of Hamada Saber, users discussed the firstborn baby of Colombian singer Shakira and her boyfriend Spanish footballer Gerard Piqué. Shakira posted a picture of baby Milan on her Facebook page; it received 24,719 comments, making it the second most discussed topic this week, but the only topic in the Art category. The majority of users extended blessings and best wishes for Shakira and her son. User Taher Sayed wrote: “He is so cute, he so adorable. The baby is sooo swweet!” Many others marked the resemblance between Barcelona Striker Piqué and Milan. Meanwhile, other users slammed the Arab media for focusing on Shakira’s baby, while ignoring the calamities of the Arab world. Mahmoud Mustafa angrily commented: “This news is garbage. Why do we share them and give credit to those scums?” Others wished to marry non-Arab men like Piqué, as a sign of their displeasure with Arab men who do not care for their looks. User Thank People wrote: “Piqué is so handsome! Wish they let us marry foreign men, at least to better our brood. Here our men stay all day in their underwear, and think they rule the world!”

The second most discussed category was Society, led by discussions of the execution of Saudi prisoner Abdullah Fandi al-Shammari. Discussions of al-Shammari’s were prominent twice in the past week, totaling 29,225 comments. Al-Shammari will be remembered as the longest-serving Saudi prisoner; he was executed on February 6 after spending 32 years in jail following a fight when he was age 23, in which he killed a man. The court then ruled the crime to have been manslaughter and released him after he paid diya (blood money) to the victim’s family as per Saudi laws. The victim’s family successfully appealed the verdict, sending him back to jail for 32 years, before the court meted out execution by beheading for murder. Many users deeply sympathized with al-Shammari and regard the Saudi justice system with indignation. User Comondante commented: “Two kids fight, one dies, the other pays millions of riyals as diya, then gets out of jail after one year!!! This man has been in jail for 30 years?!!!! And will be beheaded tomorrow.” Meanwhile, some users regarded the execution as just, noting that a killer must be killed as per “Islamic Sharia law.” Saudi From Mecca supported this view, saying that the convicted killer’s death would relieve the victim’s family: “The victim’s family have got their right.” Other users simply prayed for the convicted man, and asked God to have mercy on his soul. Smart Saudi Man wrote: “May God have mercy on your soul, Abdullah Fandi al-Shammari. I hope this is your penance, and by execution you achieve atonement.” The chart below details the most discussed topics in the Society category:Society

The Sports and Religion categories generated less than 2% of the week’s total volume. The most-discussed topic in Sports was the controversy over the salary of Bosnian coach of the Algerian football team Vahid Halilhdozic, who is paid 330,000 dinars (USD 4251) per day to train the Greens. Algerians split on the topic, some lamenting the “waste” of money; others arguing that the sum is meager compared to other coaches around the world. Supporting the first view, Um Abdul Razak commented: “The people are hungry, and most of them are unemployed, yet this failed coach gets paid millions as salary.” User Ali, on the other hand, thought the value was insignificant, and accused the Algerian press of staging a “vile” campaign against Halilhdozic: “Halilhdozic’s salary is too little compared to the coaches of the others world teams. Why is the press inciting people against Halilhdozic?” The chart below details the most discussed topics in the Art, Sports, and Religion categories:Other categories

News that Saudi preacher Abdullah al-Dawood ruled that parents must cover the faces of their little girls stirred considerable debate on the region’s social media networks. The preacher argued that as long as the little girls (less than the age of 10) aroused men sexually, their faces must be hidden to protect their chastity. The majority of users condemned the fatwa and the sheikh, arguing there was no correlation between a woman or girl’s beauty and sexual harassment. This camp argued that a harasser was a sick man who required psychological treatment. User In Silence, Solutions Hide wrote: “Sexual harassment doesn’t solely relate to physical beauty, but mainly to the way family members are raised.” Mona Mohamed cursed Sheikh al-Dawood, and the Saudi religious police: “The sheikh is mentally ill, like the rest of the religious police members.”

Methodology

These results above are extracted from thousands of social media sources such as blogs, microblogs, forums, message boards, readers’ comment sections on news websites, etc, which are continually updated. A team of Arabic social media researchers and Arabic social media analysts use Arabic Natural Language Processing and data mining tools to analyze the data and to extract the list of top five subjects, based primarily on keyword repetition.

The Weekly Top 5 displays results of the common Sunday-Thursday work week in the Arab world, and is solely focused on Arabic language user-generated results, classified by volume of comments/discussion.

Data is captured primarily from 17 Arab countries in North Africa, the Levant, and the Arab Gulf region, and when relevant, the five other Arabic speaking countries belonging to the Arab League (Sudan, Somalia, Comoros, Djibouti and Mauritania).

 

The Weekly Top 5 — January 27-31, 2013

February 3, 2013

As of the first week of January, we’ve added a new feature to the Buzz Report: the Weekly Top 5. The Weekly Top 5 report highlights the top five subjects which generated the largest volume of discussion across Arabic language social media platforms on a weekly basis. The report is derived from crawling the web and indexing hundreds of thousands of Arabic-language, user-generated results on a daily basis. A more thorough explanation of our methodology follows the report. The Weekly Top 5 represents data collected throughout the Sunday-Thursday work week in the Arab world.

This week’s buzz was dominated by talk of politics and sports, which constituted approximately 53% and 36% of the total volume, respectively. Though politics had the largest share of discussion, the top topic of the week was in the sports category, created by the El Classico game between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Users all over the Arab world tuned in to watch the game between the two classic Spanish rivals, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Fans of each team attacked the other: Barcelona fans accused Real Madrid players of being ill-mannered, while Real Madrid fans said their rivals barely escaped defeat.

Facebook user Pain from the Past wrote: “Real Madrid, the team, the fans, the players, and the priest Mourinho need to behave! They are such losers!” However, Max Abood, a Real Madrid fan, commented on YouTube: “Barcelona are the worst team ever!”

Some users, however, denounced the use slurs, stressing that games should be watched only for fun and teams must be supported without fanaticism.  Also on Youtube, fanger1990 cautioned: “We watch European football to enjoy it. Support whatever team you want, but do not become extremist fans of their games.”

It is worth noting that although the top topic of the week was the El Classico game, the most recurrent topic in the sports category was the African Cup of Nations. The diagram below shows the top seven topics in this category, five of which related to the African championship, particularly Algeria’s exit after losing to a match to Togo. Image

Just as talk of sports often inadvertently morphs into politics, this week’s top topic in the politics category was also intricately woven with sports. In Egypt, the death sentencing of 21 defendants accused of being involved in killing 72 spectators at a football riot in Port Said in February of 2012 sent ripple waves in both the real and virtual worlds.  Riots erupted in protest of the sentence, leading to the death of 30 people in an attempt to break into the jail where the defendants were being held. In fact, as seen in the figure below, most topics of discussion in the politics category revolved around events related to the aftermath of the verdict, which also coincided with the second anniversary of Egypt’s revolution.Image

Many users were angered that those sentenced to death did not include the police officers involved in the massacre, whose sentencing was postponed to March 9. Some appealed to the Ultras Ahlawy, the Cairo-based Al Ahly team’s hardcore football fans, many of whom died in Port Said in 2012, to continue pressuring the courts to issue the final verdict with no delay. Mahmoud Mohey wrote on Facebook: “Why didn’t the court sentence the interior ministry and the military council members?”

Meanwhile, other users played down the verdict, commenting that it will likely be appealed by the defendants, while still others believed it was a politically calculated one meant to appease the Ultras Ahlawy and prevent the mayhem they threatened if the Port Said victims were not avenged.

Sentiment towards the Muslim Brotherhood was generally negative, as users held the group and President Mohamed Morsi responsible for the violence that ensured. Some went as far as to say the riots were planned by Brotherhood to dismantle the country and make it easier to sell the Suez Canal to Qatar. Facebook user Amal Yousef worte: “The Brotherhood are striking hard and tearing the people apart. Wake up people of Port Said, you are helping the Brotherhood!”

Together, the final three categories for this week (religion, society and media), made up less than 12% of the total volume.Image

This week marked the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad, the discussion of which earned it the top spot in the religion category. Muslim users across the Arab world exchanged greetings and good wishes while remembering the Prophet’s noble manners and hoping to see them reflected in the Muslim community today. Aliaa al-Jafry wrote on Facebook: “Sweeeeet to celebrate the noble Birth of Prophet Mohammad, especially with children who grow up filled with more love for the Prophet!”

However, as is the case every year, users also debated whether it was religiously permissible to celebrate the Prophet’s birth. While some said it was not one of the original Muslim celebrations and therefore considered a “novelty,” others believed it was still permissible to mark the day. Heated disagreements erupted between Shiite users who called for celebrations and Salfists (ultra-conservative Sunnis) who denounced them.

Dr. Abdul Mohsen al-Moteiry tweeted in disapproval: “Did you know that 12-Rabie al-Awal [a month in the Muslim lunar calendar] is not the birth date of the Prophet, but is also the day he died? Now you are celebrating his death too! #Mowled_novelty”

Meanwhile, Egyptian users differed on whether it was appropriate for President Mohamed Morsi to celebrate in spite of the deadly clashes and ongoing political tension in his country and Egyptian preacher Amr Khaled asked his fans to look at the Prophet’s birthday as an opportunity to work hard and be productive.

In the society category, the greatest buzz was created by Saudi preacher and scholar Adel al-Kalbani, who described his country’s civil defense corps, tasked with rescuing citizens from natural disasters and accidents, as incompetent. The preacher expressed his exasperation with the “primitive” tools used to save those caught in the Tabuk floods, sarcastically asking people to put on swimsuits and rescue themselves in case the country is flooded by heavy rainfall. In turn, the Saudi civil defense corps dismissed the preacher’s remarks and asked him to focus on his job as a religious preacher.

Some social media users reject al-Kalbani’s sarcasm and asked him to use more polite language that is appropriate for a religious man who recites Quran. AbdelRahman Hamad tweeted: “From the awe of the Quran to swimsuit slurs? This language doesn’t suit you!”

Others said natural disaster control is solely the responsibility of the civil defense corps, who only receive nine months of training. Sheikh Adel, a reader on Sabq, said: “A civil defense worker gets only nine months of training! We are all rescue workers!”

On the other hand, some supported al-Kalbani’s criticism of the Saudi authorities who allowed people to erect cities in deep valleys.  On Al-Arabiya, reader Civil Defense wrote: “It is not the Civil Defense’s fault, but the municipalities that allow citizens to build across valleys.”

Finally, there was only one topic in the media category this week, which was the third episode of the Saudi show ‘From-To.’ The show, which airs on YouTube, tackles human development issues and aims at improving viewers’ business skills and helping them gain employment.

While some users approved of the newest episode of ‘From-To’ and encouraged the show’s presenter Hossam Al-Qurashy and his crew to focus on job market and employment advice, others recommended the show concentrate on making use of youth’s leisure time and teach them new skills. User Bruce Lee Bruce Lee commented on Facebook: “Please upload more episodes on making use of free time, especially for unemployed young men!”

In the meantime, some, like YouTube user Shaher Al-Zahrani, disapproved of the show’s background music, which they believed was religiously prohibited, and asked the producers to remove it.

 

Methodology

These results above are extracted from thousands of social media sources such as blogs, microblogs, forums, message boards, readers’ comment sections on news websites, etc, which are continually updated. A team of Arabic social media researchers and Arabic social media analysts use Arabic Natural Language Processing and data mining tools to analyze the data and to extract the list of top five subjects, based primarily on keyword repetition.

The Weekly Top 5 displays results of the common Sunday-Thursday work week in the Arab world, and is solely focused on Arabic language user-generated results, classified by volume of comments/discussion.

Data is captured primarily from 17 Arab countries in North Africa, the Levant, and the Arab Gulf region, and when relevant, the five other Arabic speaking countries belonging to the Arab League (Sudan, Somalia, Comoros, Djibouti and Mauritania).