Exploring the German-Language Twittersphere: Network Analysis of Discussions on the Syrian and Ukrainian Refugee Crises
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This study conducts a comparative analysis of Twitter communication networks relating to the Syrian and Ukrainian refugee crises. Employing a network analysis approach, the study uses approximately 660,000 tweets to gain insights into the online discussion communities surrounding these crises. Tweets specifically discussing Syrian refugees were collected between 2015 and 2023, while those about Ukrainians were harvested from 2022 to 2023, utilizing the full-archive search endpoint of the Twitter API. By transforming retweets into communication networks between users, the study investigates the community structure within these networks. The findings reveal that the online anti-refugee community is smaller in size, more active, highly interconnected, and transcends national boundaries, in contrast to the opposing communities. These results underscore the need for increased social media engagement of pro-refugee voices and improved moderation practices to foster a more inclusive virtual public sphere.