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  • Casey Schmidt

Discovering Indicators and Warning of Ethnic Violence Within Social Media Discourse

Capturing and understanding the voice of the people is a critical means to identify and mitigate risk of conflict and violent political instability. While social media and online discourse analytics are by no means a forecasting panacea, they can reveal important clues that portend an increasingly volatile and disruptive socio-political environment ahead. Indeed, VoxCroft is in the business of employing its proprietary blend of AI powered tools and a global network of linguists and cultural experts to discover these clues as they emerge, put them into content, and deliver timely, accurate, and relevant insight to our clients and decision makers.


VoxCroft's latest data-driven public sentiment analysis takes a deeper look at online discourse among the Ethiopian Diaspora, a unique source of insight into a country where there is a dearth of reliable publicly available information. We discovered an online conversation heavily imbued with ethnic undertones and identity politics, and an overall net sentiment that was exceptionally critical of Ethiopia's political leadership. This ethnically charged snapshot revealed a remarkable contrast to Ethiopian Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed's positive global public image in the aftermath of his 2019 political reforms and reconciliation with neighboring Eritrea - a move that garnered him the Nobel Peace Prize. Furthermore, such ethnic tensions and online criticism are peaking as Ethiopia heads into parliamentary elections later this month, suggesting a dangerous confluence of factors that increase the risk of more acute ethnic and communal violence in the coming weeks and months.


The study was done as part of the VoxCroft Monthly Data Insight for the CSIS Africa Program newsletter.