Check Out Russian Trolls and the Representation of Islam on Social Media on November 7 in VancouverWritten by Chelby Daigle
The Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies is hosting "Russian Trolls and the Representation of Islam on Social Media" at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, BC on November 7th (click here for event details).
Dr. Ahmed Al-Rawi is a professor with the Simon Fraser University, School of Communication and the Directory of the university's "Disinformation Project".
During this presentation, he will analyze social media datasets to understand the representation of Islam by Russian trolls during the 2016 US elections.
According to Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies, "The presentation provides an empirical understanding of the way Russian trolls used the issue of Islam on social media before and after the 2016 US elections. Three main datasets taken from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are analyzed, and the results indicate that Russian trolls frequently used Islam to microtarget a variety of audiences as the messages varied depending on the receivers’ backgrounds.
Despite the constant message variations, Russian trolls mostly connected Muslims and Islam to the Democrats, liberals, and social movements like Black Lives Matter. On the other hand, when conservative and Republican users are targeted, Islam is often treated highly negatively; however, when American Muslims are targeted, Islam is always framed in a positive way.
The study is situated within the broader discussion of microtargeting and disinformation and introduces the theoretical concept of microtargeted disinformation that has become an easily accessible political strategy due to the marketing features readily afforded by social media platforms."
About Dr. Ahmed al-Rawi
According to Dr. Ahmed al-Rawi's biography on TheConversation.com, "I am an Assistant Professor of Social Media, News and Public Communication at the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. I began my full time media career in 2002 by serving as a Communication Officer and later a Spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Iraq. I also worked as a freelance radio correspondent for a couple of US-based radio stations and briefly as an editor for CNN Arabic bureau in Dubai, the UAE. In 2006, I started my full-time academic career mostly teaching in the Sultanate of Oman, the Netherlands, and Canada. I served as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Media & Communication at Erasmus University in the Netherlands (2011-2014) and later as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University in Canada (2015-2018). I am also an Affiliated Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication, Concordia University, in Montreal and a Research Fellow at the Department of Media & Communication at Erasmus University in The Netherlands. I also serve as a Senior Research Fellow at The Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies at Leiden University, and I'm an Affiliate Member of ERMeCC (Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture) at Erasmus University. I'm also a founding member of the Media & Digital Literacy Academy at the Lebanese American University in Beirut" Visit his website here
You can read al-Rawi's article, co-authored with Professor Yasmin Jiwani, about Russian trolls spreading disinformation after the Quebec Mosque shooting here
Watch a short presentation by Dr. al-Rawi about fake news on Instagram (It may take a few moments for the video to load from YouTube)
About the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies
The Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies (CCMS) has been established at Simon Fraser University to encourage the academic discussion and public understanding of the cultures and societies of Muslim peoples in the past and present. The Centre shifts the analysis from the notion of a single religious landscape defined by the religion of Islam to that of Muslims of different experiences and interpretations as agents in the construction of their societies and cultures. Website, Twitter, Facebook
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