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Social Network Analysis

Conflict at the source of the Blue Nile .


How Ethiopian rivalling forces coordinated to amplify political narratives against each other on social media.

Strained relations morphed into war within a country where the citizens' opinions were torn into two opposing factions. On one side, there were those who believed that the new regime was bringing the much needed political reforms as well as “law and order” to the country which had been dealing with ethnic tensions for decades. Others insisted that the violence which escalated since early November 2020 had been marred by human rights abuses and Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, was just another tyrant persecuting his people. The war was considered exceedingly worrying and volatile, having a significant negative impact on civilians. There have been concerns voiced highlighting the Ethnic profiling of Tigrayans. The conflict also undermined the ability of humanitarian actors to operate in insecure areas therefore hindering aid projects that would assist in alleviating the suffering of the victims of war. To voice these campaigns, both sides took to the online spaces, using multiple hashtags on Twitter and Facebook in an effort to shape the narrative. The hashtags #TPLFMustGo (which was highly pro-Government, was one of hashtags that garnered high social interactions and shares. The hashtag peaked in response to military action in the Tigray capital after the Tigray regional leadership and local forces failed to surrender within a 72-hour-ultimatum imposed by Abiy. A CfA Analysis revealed that the Pro-Tigray hashtags (#IStandWithTigray & #Tigraygenocide), were used to voice concerns about the violent conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and have been used consistently in criticising the federal government’s actions and the need for going to war.

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