There is a growing animosity towards refugees in the Bulgarian Social Media, Perceptica claims
Nearly half of the Social Media users in Bulgaria are against welcoming refugees, according to a new study by Media Analysis provider Perceptica. The study covers 80,000 mentions in Mainstream sources and almost 30,000 in the Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Forums and Blogs) from the second half of 2015.
No fewer than 47% of all Social Media users were firmly against Bulgaria accepting refugees, while 25% were positive to the idea and 28% were neutral. The share of negative mentions also showed an upward trend over the duration of the period. Facebook users demonstrated the highest degree of animosity, with 57% of all posts being critical towards refugees and migrants, versus 11% positive and 32% neutral. Facebook contributed the largest share of conversation with 34% of the total Social Media comments. Bloggers were the most positive group, with 42% of all posts being tolerant towards refugees. They were also the most polarized – only 9% of the blog posts analysed were neutral on the issue of the refugee wave.
Men vs Women
There was a clear distinction in the way men and women spoke of refugees on social networks. Women were more likely to show concern for national security, as well as the well-being of women and children both among the refugees and in the host countries. Men, on the other hand, focused on the geopolitical situation that had brought about the refugee crisis and discussed the role played by the USA and Russia in the war in Syria.
The volume of conversation peaked in September when problems with the transportation of refugees and tense situations along national borders were actively covered by the leading news agencies in Europe.
The most actively discussed topics in July-December of 2015 were the drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi and the debate around establishing the so-called “refugee hotspots” in Bulgaria. Reports on the shooting of an Afghani migrant by a Bulgarian border patrol guard and the terrorist attacks in Paris generated the largest peaks in negativity on Social Media.
Germany was the most frequently mentioned European state (11% of the total volume), followed by Turkey (9%), Greece (7%), Russia (6%), Hungary (6%) and France (5%). Germany also had the highest share (23%) of Social vs. Traditional Media mentions.
The most actively discussed politicians were the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Attitudes amongst commenters on Bulgarian Social Media were mostly negative towards the French and German heads of state, while Erdoğan was mentioned neutrally and comments on Orbán were often positive.
Perceptica is a leading Media Analysis provider, part of the global information services company A Data Pro (http://www.aiidatapro.com). Perceptica offers analysis in all European and many world languages on a wide variety of topics, including economics, sociology, telecommunications, health services and consumer goods. From January 2016, Perceptica added Employer Branding to the list of its services.
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