Syria’s Socially Mediated Civil War

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This source criticizes videos, analysis, and commentary circulated throughout Western social media for its reliance on English-only sources on the Syrian Civil War, promoting a biased and often inaccurate perspective on the conflict. This study includes an assessment of the content’s actual nature, the limits of its credibility, and how it’s transferred between users. Importantly, the study notes that key information hubs across the Internet are increasingly playing a gatekeeping role as powerful as major television producers and news outlets, and the patterns of social media in this regard often cluster around similar insular and esoteric perceptions of the events.

This source will be valuable to researchers interested in understanding source bias, the profound limitations of English-only research, and recommendations for system procedures to prevent against future misinformation. Additionally, this source’s emphasis on the rising influence of Arabic social media makes an interesting case into the pressing need for Arabic and English coverage.

Marc Lynch, Deen Freelon, and Sean Aday

January 2014