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News Consumption in Time of Conflict: 2021 Palestinian-Israel War as an Example

by   Kareem Darwish, et al.
Hamad Bin Khalifa University

This paper examines news consumption in response to a major polarizing event, and we use the May 2021 Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an example. We conduct a detailed analysis of the news consumption of more than eight thousand Twitter users who are either pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli and authored more than 29 million tweets between January 1 and August 17, 2021. We identified the stance of users using unsupervised stance detection. We observe that users may consume more topically-related content from foreign and less popular sources, because, unlike popular sources, they may reaffirm their views, offer more extreme, hyper-partisan, or sensational content, or provide more in depth coverage of the event. The sudden popularity of such sources may not translate to longer-term or general popularity on other topics.


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