Social media in the global South: a network dataset of the Malian twittersphere

TitleSocial media in the global South: a network dataset of the Malian twittersphere
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsD.T. Schroeder, M.E. de Bruijn, L.R. Bruls, M.A. Moges, S.D. Badji, N. Fritz, M.G. Cisse, J. Langguth, B. Mutswairo, and K.S. Orgeret
Secondary TitleJournal of data mining & digital humanities
Date Published2023
Publication Languageeng
Keywordscomplex network, computational social science, Mali, twitter

With the expansion of mobile communications infrastructure, social media usage in the Global South is surging. Compared to the Global North, populations of the Global South have had less prior experience with social media from stationary computers and wired Internet. Many countries are experiencing violent conflicts that have a profound effect on their societies. As a result, social networks develop under different conditions than elsewhere, and our goal is to provide data for studying this phenomenon. In this dataset paper, we present a data collection of a national Twittersphere in a West African country of conflict. While not the largest social network in terms of users, Twitter is an important platform where people engage in public discussion. The focus is on Mali, a country beset by conflict since 2012 that has recently had a relatively precarious media ecology. The dataset consists of tweets and Twitter users in Mali and was collected in June 2022, when the Malian conflict became more violent internally both towards external and international actors. In a preliminary analysis, we assume that the conflictual context influences how people access social media and, therefore, the shape of the Twittersphere and its characteristics. The aim of this paper is to primarily invite researchers from various disciplines including complex networks and social sciences scholars to explore the data at hand further. We collected the dataset using a scraping strategy of the follower network and the identification of characteristics of a Malian Twitter user. The given snapshot of the Malian Twitter follower network contains around seven million accounts, of which 56,000 are clearly identifiable as Malian. In addition, we present the tweets.

Citation Key12795