This paper investigates bias in coverage between Western and Arab media on Twitter after the November 2015 Beirut and Paris terror attacks. Using two Twitter datasets covering each attack, we investigate how Western and Arab media differed in coverage bias, sympathy bias, and resulting information propagation. We crowdsourced sympathy and sentiment labels for 2,390 tweets across four languages (English, Arabic, French, German), built a regression model to characterize sympathy, and thereafter trained a deep convolutional neural network to predict sympathy. Key findings show: (a) both events were disproportionately covered (b) Western media exhibited less sympathy, where each media coverage was more sympathetic towards the country affected in their respective region (c) Sympathy predictions supported ground truth analysis that Western media was less sympathetic than Arab media (d) Sympathetic tweets do not spread any further. We discuss our results in light of global news flow, Twitter affordances, and public perception impact.

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Telefonica Research, Barcelona, Spain
ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Amsterdam (CWI), The Netherlands

El Ali, A, Stratmann, T.C, Park, S, Schöning, J, Heuten, W, & Boll, S.C.J. (2018). Measuring, understanding, and classifying news media sympathy on Twitter after crisis events. In Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1–13). doi:10.1145/3173574.3174130