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Activity Number: 276 - The Role of Statistics and Social Media in Combating Terrorism
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 : 8:30 AM to 10:20 AM
Sponsor: Section on Risk Analysis
Abstract #322133 View Presentation
Title: The Deadliness of Twitter Followers: Evidence from Terrorist Groups
Author(s): Bo Jiang*
Companies: University of Maryland
Keywords: terrorism ; Twitter ; social media ; casualties

Despite successful examples of social media propaganda by terrorist organizations in practice, there is little scholarly research that investigates whether terrorist organizations' participation and fan base in social media can be translated into real world casualties' count. This research aims to fill this void by investigating the deadliness of the usage and the number of followers of each terrorist organization related account on Twitter. Specifically, I investigate terrorist organizations' participation and popularity on Twitter in terms of real world casualties. To do this, I use a difference-in-difference model to estimate the impact of an organization's participation in Twitter on the casualty counts inflicted by the organization. Second, I use a Heckman two-stage model to estimate the deadliness of popularity on Twitter, which is the number of followers of a terrorist organization. This research provides quantitative evidence to illustrate the deadliness of the terrorist use of social media, which is rare in the terrorism literature.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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