Russia, Ukraine, and the West
Social Media Sentiment in the Euromaidan Protests
September 30, 2014
"Russia, Ukraine, and the West: Social Media Sentiment in the Euromaidan Protests," authored by Bruce Etling, is the fourth paper in the Internet Monitor special report series, which focuses on key events and new developments in Internet freedom. The paper analyzes content from a range of online Russian- and English-language sources, including both social media (Facebook, Twitter, and forums) and traditional media, to explore sentiment in the online conversation about the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine last winter:
This paper investigates sentiment in the online conversation about the Ukrainian Euromaidan protests across a range of English- and Russian-language social and traditional media sources. Results from this exploratory research show more support for the Euromaidan protests in Russian-language sources, including among sources and users based in Russia, than originally expected. Sentiment in English-language sources, including those located in the United States and United Kingdom, is more negative than anticipated given the rhetorical support among western governments for the Euromaidan protests. However, social media content in Ukraine, the US, and the UK is more positive than traditional media outlets in those countries.
Key findings include:
- Support for the Euromaidan protests was stronger in Russian sources, and less strong in sources from the US and UK, than expected: when neutral content was removed, Russian-language sources were more positive (64%) than negative (36%) toward the protests, while English sources were overall a bit more negative (54%) than positive (46%).
- Russian-language sources grew more negative as protests continue; English-language sources became more positive at the very end of the protests.
- Overall, Russian social media was more neutral (69%) than expected.
- Social media content was more positive than online media content overall.
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Internet Monitor is a research project to evaluate, describe, and summarize the means, mechanisms, and extent of Internet content controls and Internet activity around the world. The project will compile and curate data from multiple sources, including primary data collected by the Berkman Center and our partners, as well as relevant secondary data. Internet Monitor will create a freely available online fact base that will give policy makers, digital activists, and user communities an authoritative, independent, and multi-faceted set of quantitative data on the state of the global Internet. The project will also produce annual reports that compile this information and provide expert analysis on the state of the global Internet.
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