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Snapshots of research

Social media in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, social media, research

Social Network Analysis grounded in domestic dynamics

Snapshots of doctoral research

Social media in Sri Lanka

Sanjana Hattotuwa | [email protected]

________________

Introduction

My doctoral research at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS), University of Otago, is anchored to the study of social media in Sri Lanka. As a consequence, and far more than I expected when I started my course of study, the voluminous, varied and often violent socio-political developments on the ground have contributed to ever increasing content production on Twitter and Facebook. The academic rigour I am being schooled in requires a careful delineation and critical distance from observed events, processes and data collected. An interventionist gene, however, compels me to release and reflect more urgently and frequently than I thought I would. I am trying to navigate this tension - emphasis on trying. As partial evidence of my failure, this document captures some of my output since 2018 first and predominantly published on Twitter. Will keep updating this document with new or rediscovered content.

* Short bio on about.me. Profile on LinkedIn. Musings on Twitter.

* Blog on ICT/technology for peace and another one featuring archives of what was from 2015-2019 a regular Sunday column to Sri Lankan newspaper.

* Archives of web content anchored to socio-political developments in Sri Lanka since 2003.

Writing & visualisations

* Ourdiversity.org is where I publish, monthly, visualisations of my Twitter data collection anchored to the #lka and #srilanka hashtags. Read my tweets launching the blog here.

* A weekly column, which I stopped in December 2019, to the Sunday Island newspaper in Sri Lanka. The writing was often based on aspects of my doctoral research and resulting insights.

* My writing on the use of Information and Communications Technologies for peace, for close upon 15 years.

* My work with the ICT4Peace Foundation, since 2006, anchored to my research foci.

* My work with the Centre for Policy Alternatives, since 2002, covers a gamut of issues from FoE to civic media and misinformation.

________________

Data captures, writing & tweets around specific incidents

General Election, August 2020

* Click here for a document that captures data from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter in the lead up to the General Election 2020.

Covid19 / Coronavirus pandemic

* Click here for a document that captures data from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube on the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government’s response to the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic.

Presidential Election, November 2019

* Click here for a document that captures data from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter in the lead up to the Presidential Election 2019.

* Also see semantic analysis of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s key speeches in English.

Constitutional crisis, Sri Lanka, October to December 2018

* Click here for a document that captured, over 52 days, dynamics and developments around the constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka, from 26 October to mid-December 2018.

Christchurch terrorist attack, New Zealand, March 2019

Click here for a blog post with some data visualisations on the domestic and international conversations anchored to the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. Also wrote 5 op-eds on the incident, analysing events and responses from a social media perspective.

1. A historic opportunity, Otago Daily Times

2. Principles over promises: Responding to terrorism, Scoop

3. Pulse points, Scoop

4. Terrorists know they have the upper hand on social media, Stuff.co.nz

5. NZ's response can lead the way, Otago Daily Times

Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, Sri Lanka, 21 April 2019

* Click here for a document capturing the content resulting from the terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, including data-driven perspectives on the use of VPNs during the social media blocks imposed by the government on three occasions.

* Document includes capture of Facebook content against violence, at the height of unrest on the ground, as well as, analysis of Google Search Trends data on VPN use during social media blocks in Sri Lanka, and to what degree it impacted use and access of Facebook etc.

* I also did a quick capture of responses on Instagram to the terrorist attacks.

Episodic data captures & tweet threads

(Social) media regulation in Sri Lanka: Flagging normalisation of media illiteracy over memes on Facebook

* See tweet thread here.

Tweet thread on speech by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Ampara, January 2020

* See tweet thread here. Includes graph on President’s Facebook page engagement from 1 January 2019 to 9 January 2021.

(Social) media regulation in Sri Lanka: Responses to comments by Government MPs in December 2020

* See tweet thread here responding to Keheliya Rambukwella’s comments on the registration of all social media users in Sri Lanka, and Charitha Herath’s subsequent contradictions and clarifications.

* See tweet thread here responding to Keheliya Rambukwella’s garbled comments.

Tweet thread (and related infographics) on the release of the New Zealand Royal Commission’s Report into the Christchurch terrorist attack

* See tweet thread here.

* See related thread on output, including input into the Christchurch Call and leading Twitter’s first #DataForGood partnership in New Zealand, since the March 2019 terrorist incident.

* See related tweet thread comparing Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Select Committee Report on the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks and the Royal Commission Report.

(Social) media regulation in Sri Lanka: Encapsulation of responses from PhD fieldwork in Jan/Feb 2020

* See tweet here.

Sri Lanka's official Covid-19 tracing app is a privacy nightmare that country's apex ICT body doesn't find any issue with

* Topline capture: "You have Presidential endorsement of & a directive to use app that leaks privacy of patients/victims, which apex ICT body in #SriLanka claims is not an issue & does nothing, even when flagged by a former Director. In another country, this would be headline news." https://twitter.com/sanjanah/status/1329602113081524229

* The StaySafe app is endorsed by the President and through a Presidential Directive, mandatory for all Govt establishments https://twitter.com/icta_srilanka/status/1329300507060473856 The privacy of millions is impacted by this one app.

* Former Director at ICT Agency, Sanjiva Weerawarana, warned them about the privacy issues nearly two weeks ago. ICTA's response was that it was "not a big deal". https://twitter.com/sanjiva/status/1329595407610077186

* Yesterday, Sanjiva tweeted again - https://twitter.com/sanjiva/status/1329466164557307920 - noting that ICTA shouldn't take security issues lightly.

* Sanjiva's warning to ICTA came after other users flagged many other issues - https://twitter.com/aselawaid/status/1325748651507867649

* ICTA went on to tell Asela, the person who diligently found and reported bugs as well as offered help, free of charge, to address them, he was an annoyance - https://twitter.com/aselawaid/status/1329590783956054017

* The technical issue is a serious one, where with just basic programming knowledge, the Covid-19 positive status of someone can be checked with just an NIC https://twitter.com/ukrhq/status/1325713543648382976 or even, according to another tweet, just a mobile number. https://twitter.com/rum35h/status/1329481698111758337

* Hiranya Samarasekera, the Chief Technology Officer for ICTA, hasn't commented on the issue, despite being flagged https://twitter.com/sanjanah/status/1329665130871754755

Comment on implementation of Data Protection Act

* See tweet here, written in light of concerns around ICTA’s clear disinterest in privacy.

Social media and Sri Lanka’s political culture: Live session on Zoom and Facebook with Democracy and Governance Initiative of Sri Lanka

* See here for notice of the event and link to the Facebook recording. See here for an overview of the points made, in English and Sinhala.

Content inciting hate and violence against the Minister of Justice Ali Sabry on Facebook

* Capture of posts and content on 13th November, linking the hate and violence against the Minister to the timbre of content posted to Facebook after the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in April 2019. See here and here for those threads.

* Capture of posts and content on 18th November.

* Capture of posts and content on 29th November 2020, including a comment that calls for the murder of the Minister.

* Capture of posts and content from 14 December 2020, looking at the cremation of a Muslim baby.

Tweets on Sri Lanka’s proposed regulatory frameworks and laws to govern social media

* See tweet thread here.

* See following up thread here noting GNI Principles and Policy Brief on Social Media Regulation.

Social media and Sri Lanka’s political culture: Live session on Zoom and Facebook with Democracy and Governance Initiative of Sri Lanka

* See here for notice of the event and link to the Facebook recording. See here for an overview of the points made, in English and Sinhala.

Topic modelling of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s key speeches from August 2019 onwards

* Tweet thread on address to SLPP convention, 11 August 2019.

* Tweet thread on address to Parliament, 4 January 2020.

* Tweet thread on address to new Parliament, 21 August 2020.

* Tweet thread on address to nation, 18 November 2020.

Study of 100 most recent posts and all comments generated in response to them on the official Facebook pages of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa

* See tweet thread here.

Capture of the #5differentlookchallenge in November 2020

* Tweet thread looking at the pushback against Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the government featured in the #5differentlookchallenge on Facebook.

Islamophobia around Muslim burials of Covid-19 victi

Snapshots of research
Info
Tags Sri Lanka, Social media, Research
Type Google Doc
Published 18/01/2021, 11:10:30