Thursday November 14, 2019
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How your tweets can reveal political polarisation?



By Newsgram Staff Writer

Researchers at Universidad Politecnica de Madrid in Spain have developed a model to detect the extent to which a conversation on Twitter – and thus the actual offline argument and political climate—is polarised.

The model revealed that a group is “perfectly polarised” on a given topic when it has been divided into two groups of the same size holding opposite opinions. A politically polarised society implies several risks, such as the appearance of radicalism or civil wars.

“We were interested to find out how can political polarisation be detected and, therefore, be fixed,” said Rosa Maria Benito, a professor at Universidad Politecnica de Madrid.

Case Study of Hugo Chavez

The researchers took the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2013 as the case study. Analysing 16 million tweets from more than three million users following Chavez’s death in Venezuela, Spanish researchers quantified the extent of polarization in Caracas. Benito and her colleagues downloaded over 16,383,490 messages written by 3,173,090 Twitter users from one month before and one month after Chavez’s death on March 5, 2013 – a total of 56 days.

They used these messages to create retweet networks, in which retweets could be considered a proxy for influence and adoption of ideas, and at last applied their model and polarisation index to the networks. Compilation of this data gave them a day-by-day breakdown of the extent of political polarisation in Venezuela over the course of 56 days.

It was surprising for the researchers to find that during the most critical days of the conversation – between Chavez’s death and state funeral- polarisation dropped to its lowest levels as foreign users had joined the conversation. This was the reason behind the disappearance of  polarised structure of the network. Benito and her colleagues then plotted the geo-located tweets on a map of Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, and compared the polarity expressed – opposition— with the voting records and political affiliations of each municipality, finding a strong correlation between the two.



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Global System in ‘Unprecedented Crisis’: French President Macron

Opening the international peace forum in northeastern Paris, he strongly defended multilateralism

Macron, Global, Political
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria, left, and U.N officers hold a placard as part of a move to promote gender equality at the Paris Peace Forum, Nov. 12, 2019. VOA

French President Emmanuel Macron has described the international system as facing an unprecedented crisis, as he opened a two-day peace forum today/Tuesday in Paris. The event aims to highlight threats to world peace ranging from climate change to terrorism.

Macron’s warning came after his controversial assessment last week that the NATO alliance was, as he put it, ‘brain dead.’

Opening the international peace forum in northeastern Paris, he strongly defended multilateralism.

A day after world leaders commemorated the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, marking the agreement to end World War I, Macron said the international system faces an unprecedented crisis. He pointed to the destructive forces of nationalism and non-cooperation.

Macron, Global, Political
Macron’s warning came after his controversial assessment last week that the NATO alliance was, as he put it, ‘brain dead.’ Pixabay

Analysts suggest these remarks were directed at the Trump administration, which did not send a representative to the forum.

Like Macron, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres also stressed the importance of multilateralism.

Guterres cited key threats to peace, including technological and economic gaps dividing people, and the climate change crisis.

This second edition of the peace forum is drawing top politicians, activists and entrepreneurs.

Also Read- Zimbabwe Says 200 Elephants have Now Died Amid Drought, Plans for Mass Relocation Underway

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi is among several African leaders attending. He said while Africa may be the continent most hit by war and terrorism, it can also offer solutions for peace. Tshisekedi cited the Congo Basin’s potential to help fight climate change as one example. Right now, however, it is threatened by deforestation.

The two-day forum is also showcasing a raft of peace-building initiatives, focusing on the environment, gender empowerment and social justice. (VOA)