Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Weekly Top 5 March 10-14, 2013

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.

The European football Champions League once again stole the top spot in this week’s Top 5, as FC Barcelona’s 4-0 win against AC Milan generated a buzz of 23,636 comments.  Barcelona fans in the Arab World were overjoyed by the AC Milan knock-out and their favorite team’s entry into the quarter-finals.

Users commended Barcelona’s performance and praised their striker, Lionel Messi, whom they described as a “football legend.” User Elhabak wrote: “How wonderful you are, you magical Argentine (Messi).” Some also remarked that AC Milan played poorly and deserved to lose. Use Ahmed said:

“Barca didn’t just teach AC Milan a lesson, but they taught them how to play football, not play with 11 goalkeepers.”

Meanwhile, Barcelona fans also exchanged profanities with fans of archrival Real Madrid, who had supported AC Milan against Barca. User Ashraf Alhmede wrote: “Don’t be that happy, Real Madrid will crush you in the coming days.”

In the politics category, an Egyptian court upheld 21 death sentences against the Port Said football rioters generated 22,180 comments. Though Al-Ahly Club Ultras fans were satisfied with the death  sentences, they rejected the acquittal of seven interior ministry officials accused of involvement in the riots that killed 72 spectators after a football match in the city of Port Said last year. The Ultras fans threatened chaos unless their demands for a retrial were met.

Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei urged the court to release the written judgment of the verdicts.  He tweeted: “We are waiting for the written judgment of the verdict to catch the “mind” of the Port Said massacre to understand what is going on in Egypt. I hope it is not the boogey man who has been haunting us for 2 years.”

Users slammed the Ultras fans as rioters, especially after photos of the theft of football cups and medallions from the Egyptian Football Association headquarters went viral on SM networks.  User The Egyptian Police said: “Who will defend the Ultras Ahlawy… they are stealing the Football Association.”

While some urged the Ultras to respect the court’s verdict, others accused them of ties with the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, whom they believed had incited them to break down the police corps to give way to Muslim Brotherhood militias to deploy. Some Islamist users called on President Mohamed Morsi to strike rioters and saboteurs with an iron fist. Adel al-Johary wrote: “Now Ultras will become a burden on Ahly fans and Al Ahly club. They are committing national security crimes, the deserve the toughest punishment…”

The society category was topped by news of the death of 51 people in Libya due to poisonous liquor. The buzz around the liquor, which had been mixed with methanol, generated 9,951 comments.

Some users criticized the victims of the poisonous liquor for drinking in the first place, some arguing that God had let them die while committing a sin after giving them a chance to repent. Others, User Free Whisper wrote: “May God grant us a good ending. How will they meet our God when they were drunk? God let them die drunk because He knows they wouldn’t repent. May God lead the drunken and addicted to the right path.”

Others, however, asked God to forgive and have mercy on them and to grant their families solace. User Warfali commented: “To God we return. May God grant their families with patience and solace. But whoever poisoned liquor could easily poison potable water in any Libyan city. I don’t think that the criminal is Libyan or even an extremist Islamist.”

Like Warfali, many users had concerns that if people were able to poison liquor, they may soon poison food and drink.  Some also lashed out at the Health Ministry, saying that many of the victims died due to a shortage of supplies and professional caliber in Libyan hospitals and said the Ministry should have held a press conference to explain the details of the accident.

Meanwhile, Arab users tuned in to the premiere of the second season of Arab Idol on MBC network.  The show generated 9,076 comments in the Art category. The majority of users commended the talented participants on the Arabic version of the American reality show American Idol, commenting and tweeting on SM networks as they watched the show.

There was a general approval of and support for the Syrian contestants as well as prayers for the Syrian rebels fighting against President Bashar Al-Assad and his troops. However, many expected the winner to be an Egyptian national, as many of the Egyptian contestants were admired during the auditions.  User Ahmed Meseed said: “Egypt will have the lion’s share in the end, because Egypt has the most beautiful voices…”

Users also generally approved of the judges, particularly Lebanese singers Ragheb Alama and Nancy Ajram. However, some attacked UAE singer Ahlam for contesting the decisions of the other judges and expressed their annoyance at what they considered favoritism of some contestants over others. User Silence of the Grave said: “I feel that Ahlam’s decisions are against the judges not the contestant.”

This week also featured one topic in the rare economy category, generating 2,092 comments. Egyptian users discussed allegations that telecommunications and construction giant Orascom had evaded 14.4 billion Egyptian pounds’ worth of taxes. Many accused the Muslim Brotherhood of intentionally targeting the Coptic Sawiris family, which owns Orascom, and of trying to undermine successful businessmen and investors to make way for Brotherhood businessmen. User Samuel Adel wrote: “Morsi’s dogs are hungry, so they thought of teasing Christians. Why Sawiris? Where are [Khairat] el-Shater and the other businessmen who evade taxes?”

On the other hand, some said the matter should be investigated before Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris’ “innocence” was declared. Still others attacked Sawiris and accused him of stealing Egypt’s money, investing in Israel, supporting Christian missionaries in Egypt and inciting his employees to protest in his support. User Alaa Sheikh criticized those whom he believed were defending Sawiris simply because of their opposition to the Brotherhood : “Do we agree to let Sawiris steal from the people because he is against the MB?”

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 24-28

As 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

Egyptian politics once again stole the number one spot in this week’s Top 5 with 27,366 comments, as social media platforms buzzed with talk of the five-hour delay in airing President Mohamed Morsi’s interview with host Amro Al-Laithy, which finally aired at around 2 a.m. A slew of theories and ridicule emerged, speculating about Morsi’s whereabouts and the reasons for the delay. Among these theories was that the interview was pending approval by Muslim Brotherhood leaders Mohamed Badie and Khayrat Al-Shater or that the video was being carefully edited so the president would not make a fool of himself once again. The popular We are all Khaled Said Facebook page posted: “People want to listen to the interview without any editing.”

On a lighter note, some users joked that the Egyptian president got lost on his way to the station or that they wanted to air the interview at a time that was more suitable for Americans, since it was primarily addressed to them. Political satirist Dr. Bassem Youssef joked in a tweet: “They say that the presidency is profiting from the commercials.”

The Muslim Brotherhood said the delay was due to a malfunction with the Nile Sat, while some users claimed Al-Mehwar channel, owned by figures associated with the former regime, sabotaged the broadcast. Users Aya Tooty wrote: “The speech is great but the timing is not; the channel should take into consideration the time, especially since it’s recorded.”

Still, others were angry about the delay, accusing Morsi of disrespecting his people and wondering how the talking points were released to Al-Jazeera channel and other Brotherhood websites before the interview even took place.  Sentiment towards President Mohamed Morsi was on the whole negative, and most users continued to be just as disappointed with the content as they were with the delay.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia captured the top spot in the sports category as Saudi team Al-Hilal won the Crown Prince Cup for the 5th time in a row. Saudi social media platforms buzzed with 23,597 comments as the 11-time winners beat Al-Nasr during penalty kicks at King Fahd international stadium in Riyadh.

While many users congratulated Al-Hilal on a well-deserved win, some said the team won because they took advantage of the mistakes committed by the Al-Nasr coach. User So Obvious commented: “It was the coach’s mistake to make Al-Zilai’ play.”

Others said Al-Nasr played well and considered it an accomplishment for the team to make it to the finals for the first time in 18 years. User Union Self said: “I believe it is satisfactory for Al-Nasr fans to see their team playing in the finals after 18 years.”

However, some suggested Al-Nasr’s loss was due a lack of harmony among its players, commenting that the team was lucky to be able to withstand the game until the penalty kicks. Ahmed ali wrote: “It is mere luck that made Al-Nasr reach the penalty kicks.”

In the Art category, Arab social media users in general and Lebanese users in particular, were tuned into the finale of the Arabic version of Dancing with the Stars, which garnered 9,253 comments. Users paid particular attention to Lebanese singer and guest star Nancy Ajram, praising her performance of what they described as a “vivid song.” Some even went as far as to describe Ajram as the perfect woman of their dreams.

User Rita Abu Zuluf commented: “She is on the top of the arena now. She is such a sweetheart, she is successful in her career and at her home too. She is the Queen Nancy Ajram.” Likewise, Zewaia Noor said: “Nancy looks SO beautiful! Beyond imagination.” Some, however, said she was no longer as graceful and glowing as she used to be.

While a number of users extended their thanks to the Lebanese MTV channel for hosting Ajram, others attacked the media for spending hefty sums on trivial shows like Dancing with the Stars.

In the meantime, Amr Kahled continued to offer religious and spiritual advice to his fans, which garnered 5,554 comments.  Khaled called on users to hold on to the Quran and live a happy life according to its teachings. While some users agreed with this, others asked him to focus on reality. User Qais Ibrahim, for example, wrote: “For sure, living with Quran makes your life happier, but Dr. Amr, you forgot about the events in Egypt and the Arab world; people don’t need advice, they need directions.”

On his daily radio show A Smile of Hope, Khaled also shared the story of two women, one American and one Arab, whose success was achieved with the help of their partners, to which users responded positively. Many users also expressed their admiration for a series of photos posted on the popular preacher’s page of various places around the Arab world. Arwa Ahmed said: “Thank you, Dr.Amr Khaled, this photo is from my country; may God bless it and save it.”

Finally, a prominent Saudi cleric stole the number one spot in the media category with his attacks on Al-Arabiya news channel. SocialEyez captured 5,200 comments discussing the preacher’s remarks on Twitter, in which he described the network as “a menace to Islam and to Muslims.”  He wrote: “I don’t know any other channel that menaces Islam and Muslims like Al Arabiya. If it is Saudi, then this is a scandal! If it is non-Saudi, why do we call it ours?”

The majority of Al-Arifi’s followers concurred with this view of the news channel, describing it as “wicked” and “anti-Islamic,” while some said it adopts US views and policies. Many Saudi users said the channel shouldn’t be described as Saudi because although it is owned by a Saudi businessman, it airs from Dubai, not from Saudi Arabia. User Tayel al-Fayez commented: “Al Arabiya transmits from Dubai, under the nose of Dubai Police Chief Dhahi Khalfan… no wonder!”

Egyptian users soon joined the discussion, some of whom compared Al-Arabiya to all Egyptian media outlets that “mislead” the nation. Egyptian users opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood accused Al-Arifi of attacking the channel because it is critical of the group, whereas the pro-Brotherhood Al-Jazeera received none of this scathing criticism. Tamer Azab said: “Yeah! But Al Jazeera says what you want!”  The discussion soon veered into an attack on Al-Jazeera for its ardent support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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 17-21, 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

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).

 

The Weekly Top 5 February 2-7, 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

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).

 

The Weekly Top Five January 20-23, 2013

The Weekly Top 5 January 20-23, 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 topped by the UAE’s 2-1 football win against Iraq, making them this year’s Gulf Cup champions. The majority of users cheered the UAE’s win, which they believed was well-deserved. Now two-time winners, the UAE team was hailed as the “Gold Knights” and “Cup Champs.” While some users commended the young players who represent the team’s “bright future,” others extended their thanks to head coach Mahdi Ali for creating a “golden generation” of players who are there to win.

Yemen Economist reader Mahmoud Saleh Gharib wrote:  “You deserve to win. You have got all the infrastructure for everything in your country. Congratulations and wish you all the best…”

Meanwhile, other users said the UAE’s victory did not take away from the Iraqi team’s impressive performance. Some also attacked the referees whom they accused of bias towards the UAE team.  For example, Al Jazeera reader Abu Adnan al-Kordy said: “Congrats for the large number of UAE spectators. Thanks for not respecting the Iraqi national anthem, thanks to the referee for his injustice. Thanks for beating the Iraqi goal keeper, and for the use of laser lights to distract the players. I am Iraqi and I am proud of my civilization…what have you offered to humanity?”

Week 4 Infographic

Meanwhile, the greatest buzz in the politics category was created by the Algerian army’s announcement that their operations in the BP complex had come to an end. The operations included a military raid on the Ain Amenas complex in which 23 hostages and 32 terrorists were killed. While some lauded the Algerian army and described it as the country’s “defense shield,” others criticized army enthusiasts and commented that real victory is in minimizing damage, not in randomly firing bullets and rockets. Another group of users objected to the Algerian generals’ policies, including their involvement in Mali, but still supported the army in its decisive actions on matters related to national security.

Forum member Mr. Ali wrote: “May God bless our sweet Algeria from any harm. A grand salute to the Algerian army.” However, Nabil, a reader on Elkhabar, had a different opinion: “I beg you to stop overreacting to the army’s victory in the raid. Any army in the world can strike targets, but the real victory comes with good crisis management and minimum damages.” Representing a third view, Mansouri Abdelkrim tweeted: “Do we support all the regime’s actions? No, and a thousand nos. I oppose the French war on Mali, and oppose allowing their fighter jets to pass through our airspace, but we have to be decisive against terrorism. Over!”

In the media category, Saudi users discussed the series finale of the stand-up comedy “Broadcast Show.” Presented by young Saudi stand-up comedian Ibrahim Saleh and airing on the YouTube channel Sa7iChannel, the final episode broadcast behind the scenes moments from the entire show. While some users were irritated by the show’s long commercial breaks, others were sad to see it coming to an end and asked Saleh and his team to either start a new show or work on a second season of “Broadcast Show.” Complaining about the commercial breaks, Hssaam Hhssaamm commented on YouTube: “I was devastated when I saw that Doritos ad. The episode is 6 minutes, but the ad is 3 minutes.”

Nevertheless, attitudes towards Saleh were generally positive, and many commended his humorous way of criticizing the negativities of Saudi society. Facebook user A7mad al-malki said: “You have an effective role in our society. You discussed important issues about youth. You made us laugh a lot.”

Though the economy rarely makes it to the top categories, Egyptian users this week were discussing price hikes, particularly the 15% increase in the prices of mobile phone pre-paid credit. This increase gave users enough reason to expect an increase in the prices of all commodities, as per the terms of an $4.8 billion IMF loan Egypt has been trying to negotiate. While some claimed that commodity prices have not risen, others claimed the opposite. Shorouk News reader Abubakr Gadala angrily wrote: “These are the blessings of Morsi’s Renaissance Project…. God curse the Muslim Brotherhood; since we saw their faces, we have been jinxed.”

Islamist users argued that mobile carries in Egypt decided to raise prices as part of a conspiracy against President Mohamed Morsi ahead of the scheduled January 25 protests. These users urged their peers to boycott mobile service providers and asked the government to set up a fourth, national mobile operator.  For example, Facebook user Omar Khadem Elislam said: “Let’s start a campaign to boycott the three cell phone providers for at least 2 days.”

Meanwhile, some offered each other tips on how to decrease their consumption of cell phones and recommended that users recharge their cell phones directly from their service providers to avoid the price hikes of retailers.

Finally, in the art category, Arab users mourned the death of Egyptian actor Waheed Seif at the age of 79. The majority of users expressed grief at the actor’s loss and prayed for him to rest in peace and in eternal Heaven, while others lamented the death of Egyptian icons in general, claiming that the newer generation of Arab actors are not as talented. Facebook user Hatim Merciel commented: “A road filled with giving. In Morocco, as well as in Egypt, there are a lot of legendary actors who left with no successors, unfortunately.”

However, some users (mostly Islamists) asked their peers to learn from the celebrities’ deaths that life was too short to waste on lust. Youm7 reader Walid Zeitar wrote: “After all the fame and glory, they end up buried beneath the dirt. Let us all learn something from that.”

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).

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