September 24 2020, MENA Meetup

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MENA Meetups

Khadeja Ramali talks about the conflict zone in Libyan social media, which has become another weapon in the arsenal of warring groups. Find out how social media platforms are being used to spread disinformation, hate speech, and normalize violence.

Facilitated by Rima & Wafaa


Can you speak a bit more about your verification process?

  • Using CrowdTangle for social media newsgatering, I usually start with a story and try to collect information around it. CrowdTangle isn't an easy tool and it was recently opened for researchers by FB.
  • Buzzsumo is a publishing tool, it's a paid service. It has FB analyzer, that's a cool feature. If you are an academic you can 
  • Node.xl. to help me dwl data from api, and allow me to do graph analysis and find cluster
  • hoaxy, it's quick analyzer for twitter, it's free.
  • twittonomy?it's an app on my phone, who are the tope 10 people using the # and what are there location.
  • my research isn't on the frontline of verification, but when i find the story i try to understand the context, seperate them into camps, and develop research and investigation process around it.
  • Always communicate with people on the ground to verify info.
  • Be patient.
  • List of tools at the end of these notes.

Is there any initiatives by Libyan influencers or professionals or even alternative media channels that work on fighting those fake news and circulating the publishing the correct ones instead? *Is there Platforms confronting disinformation in Libya? What about the Libyan journalists which identifying disinformation, verifying claims and assessing the credibility of sources and media?

  • This space has been limited for media awareness/verification for journalists. USAID and NDI are starting new efforts in Libya, such projects are important to give the people on the ground media literacy tools. ​​​​​​​
  • DW Deutsche Welle Akademie Project  also has a program ongoing. 
  • document media violations and monitor a list of media organisations.  
  • Identifying disinformation has also become politicised in Libya. each camp only idenitifies the disinfo of the other side.


For the general Libyan audience that is skeptical about fake news on fb/twitter, are there sources that they tend to check and trust more?

  • People tend to trust individuals more than they trust media. 

Other than the ones targeting the audience inside Libya, have there been any disinformation campaigns shaping the image of certain parties for the international audiences?

  • Haftar, UAE, Saudia, Egypt are main actors in the east, and on the west there's Turkey propping up the GNA.


For those of us who are new to Libyan news, any sources of news that you could recommend (en/ar)?

  • Follow everyone to escape biased news, follow twitter analyst typical list, follow DCAF newsletter (en). Be aware of the narratives being pushed by different sides. Follow DRI's Libya monitoring reports. We try to not post individuals as everyone has a political stance, we don't want to promote any side over the other. 

Do you know how many Platforms confronting Disinformation are in Libya now?

  • It's a bit like trying to put out a fire with a small bucket of water. have started with media space disinfo, disinfo quantity is too large for one org to tackle alone. 
  • We need to have a  qualtative and quantative research centre in the region, and I feel that's why we are kinda behind, media researcher+ data analyst are the type of skills we need right now in the region. How to do collabrative work in the region, most of arabic researchers don't have access to international institution and tech programs. start connecting with other researchers in the region is a first step to work together. documentation and monitoring social media to keep track of the situation and raise alarms to platforms/media if it gets worse. 

How you navigate being a social media research and an Arabic women online?

  • I block generously, I use blocking thrid party app (blockpartyapp) . If you are going to harras me or troll me on Twitter, I am not going to give you this space. zero tolerant for online harrasers. control your environment and protect yourself. 

Resource links

- DCAF Libya newsletter  provides a daily libya summary to your inbox. Run by DCAF 

- Twittonomy  twitter analysis tool for quick analysis - paid around 20$ per month

- Hoaxy  don't rely on the bot meter but use the twitter count and cluster analysis great for following hashtags and advanced twitter searches great for twitter account analysis great for twitter account analysis 

- (paid) for website analysis and media narratives ( excel add on to extract twitter data) 

- arab disinfo researchers: (need to build this list) 

- for arabic language libya news: neutral toned Journalist focused on Western Libya fb form for CT access to researchers tied to academic institutions ( great course on digital investigations coming up) looking at media space violations and ownership in Libya. Also gives you an idea which political stance media channels take. ( DRI smm project 2019) Libya releated interference on twitter 

- verification resources via Craig silverman 

- gender and disinformation quick read by UK government 

- garmati قرامطة : The Carmatians are attributed to the Carmatian state, which split from the Fatimid state, and it emerged after a social revolution and took on a religious character. The Qarmatians established their state in the present-day Al-Ahsa Governorate, in eastern Saudi Arabia. Some researchers consider it one of the first socialist revolutions in the world. The Carmatians became famous mainly because of their revolt against the Abbasid Caliphate.​​​​​​​