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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

A Social Media Analysis of the Hate Network Surrounding Lokman Slim’s Assassination

Thursday , 30 September 2021

Lokman Mohsen Slim was a Lebanese publisher, an independent social and political activist, and a commentator with many appearances on international television. Slim was known for his acerbic criticism of Hezbollah, despite being from the Shia community, and living in an area with a strong Hezbollah military presence.

Lokman Slim was born on July 17, 1962, and assassinated on February 3, 2021, in South Lebanon.

The following is a study of 187,540 tweets, retweets and mentions, tweeted between January 4, 2021 (one month before Slim’s assassination) and March 4, 2021 (one month after the assassination), in addition to other smaller data sets collected and used to reinforce our analysis and findings.

Lokman Slim’s assassination spurred a complex network of Twitter users who celebrated his death and/or accused him of collaboration with Israel. Some of the accounts associated with his hate network have substantial influence online and in the media.

The clusters established after graphing the data collected often have one influential account at the center. It is concerning that many of these central influencers are journalists, some with high ranking positions at media outlets. Their accusations of Slim and their celebrations of his death range on a spectrum from subtle to aggressive.

An analysis of hateful tweets both pre- and post-assassination establishes the existence of cluster networks, led by proponents of Hezbollah, painting a deliberate image of Lokman Slim as, at best, insignificant and, at worst, deserving of his ‘fate’ due to his political stances.

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