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Sri Lanka Attacks

Posted by Ying Xiong

On Easter Sunday (April 21), about 250 people were killed by suicide bombers, and more than 500 were injured at churches and top-end hotels across Sri Lanka. The number of death had reached 359 by April 25.

A total of 686,000 tweets and 3,800 mainstream news discussed the Sri Lanka attacks in the English language. April 21 was the peak of the discussion. The main on-topic influencers included some major U.S. based news agencies (e.g., ABC News, CNN), some Indian news channels (e.g., ABP News, All India Radio News, ANI, Indian Today, Hindustan Times), Arabic news outlets (e.g., Al Arabiya English, Al Jazeera English), United Kingdom-based news agencies (e.g., BBC), and China-based news agencies (e.g., CGTN). Among all the top on-topic influencers, the Indian media were the most active than the other countries’ media.


The Sri Lanka attacks topic have received extensive attention. Individuals and media from the U.S., India, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan discussed the Sri Lanka attack in English.

For all the social media and mainstream media accounts, the 45-54 age group discussed Sri Lanka attacks the most, followed by the 25-34 age group, 35-44 age group, 55-64 age group, 21-24 age group, and 65 + age group. Some young generation groups, such as 18-20 and 24-34 age groups, discussed the least about Sri Lanka attacks relatively. The male users’ accounts discussed more than female users’ accounts.

Among all the relevant tweets and mainstream media report, 94.8% of posts had a negative sentiment. On April 21 and April 22, the negative sentiment reached its peak.

Three aspects of themes were covered in the Sri Lanka attack social media discussion:

First, many posts compared the attacks in Sri Lanka attack with the accident in New Zealand.

Second, many posts described the attributes of the attacks with the words, such as terror, and described the people who created the attacks with the words, such as terrorists, extremists.

Third, the religious cause of the attack was covered in the posts. Individuals and media used words, such as Muslims, non-Muslim, Christians, Islamic, Islamist, Christ church in the Sri Lanka attacks context.