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Published: 2018-11-23

New research on terror attacks and social media

NEWS Moa Eriksson Krutrök and Simon Lindgren of DIGSUM and the Department of Sociology have published a new study of social media use in the aftermath of terror attacks. The paper published in the journal Social Media + Society looks at how such attacks are discussed and dealt with on social media through users' concurrent employment and reiteration of hashtags related to high-profile attacks.

The article focuses on 12 terror attacks in Europe in 2015-2017 and their relating hashtags on Twitter, to see how various combinations of these were reused and co-articulated in tweets posted in relation to subsequent attacks.

Through social network analysis of co-occurring hashtags in about 3 million tweets, in combination with close readings of a smaller sample, the authors were able to see interesting pattterns both as regards the networks of hashtags in relation to terror attacks as well as the discursive process of hashtag co-articulation. The study shows that the patterns by which attack hashtags are reused and co-articulated depend on both temporal and contextual differences.