Virtually Islamic Blog

Gary R. Bunt

Social Media

IS TikTok

CNBC, TikTok removes two dozen accounts used for ISIS propaganda Discover More…

Qandeel Baloch Case

Channel News Asia, Brother of murdered Pakistan social media star gets life in 'honour killing' case Discover More…

Hijab and Social Media

New and noted: R. Kauser, Exploring the self-presentation of female Muslims, who wear the hijab, on the social networking site 'Instagram.' (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2019) [PDF] Discover More…

Rumiyah Analysed

Stuart Macdonald, Daniel Grinnell, Anina Kinzel & Nuria Lorenzo-Dus, RUSI Journal, Daesh, Twitter and the Social Media Ecosystem: A Study of Outlinks Contained in Tweets Mentioning Rumiyah Discover More…

Uighur TikTok

Guardian, Uighur Muslims using TikTok to expose plight of relatives detained by China Discover More…

'Woke' Campaign

Middle East Eye, REVEALED: The 'woke' media outfit that's actually a UK counterterror programme Discover More…

Pakistan child workers

Guardian, 'It has altered me forever': trauma of child domestic workers in Pakistan
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When is a 'like' a 'like'?

Hussein Kesvani, Mel Magazine, Teens ‘Like’ Everything On Social Media Now
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Cytrec Conference

CYTREC TASM Conference presentations and papers archived Discover More…

“Great Replacement” Theory

Guardian, Christchurch mosque killer’s theories seeping into mainstream, report warns
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Fashion Instagram Influencer

New York Post, How Muslim model Maria Al-Sadek is shaking up the fashion industry

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Fighting Prejudice Online

Eleanor Peake, New Statesman, Meet the young Imams fighting Islamophobia and extremism, one Twitter DM at a time Discover More…

KSA Green Social Media

albawaba, Social Media Turns Green for Saudi Arabia Discover More…

Sudan's Blue Social Media

al-Bawaba, Blue Wave Breaks Through Social Media in Solidarity With Sudan
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YouTube v Extremists

NYT, YouTube to Remove Thousands of Videos Pushing Extreme Views Discover More…

Iran Attorney Sentenced

Radio Farda, Attorney, Rights Defender Sentenced To 30 Years, Flogging In Iran Discover More…

Social Media & Ramadan

VOA, Learning English, Technology, Social Media and Ramadan Discover More…

Countering net-terrorism

Nikhil Raj Aggrawal, Observer Research Foundation (Delhi), The urgent need to counter terrorism on the internet Discover More…

China Surveillance

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Turkey: Doctors Imprisoned

Fox News, Turkey sentences leading doctors to prison for condemning Syria offensive
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US IS supporter & social media

Ellie Hall, Buzzfeed, An Alabama “ISIS Bride” Wants To Come Home. Can We Forgive Her Horrifying Social Media Posts? Discover More…

Sri Lanka bombing (updated)

CNN, Sri Lanka's social media ban won't solve its misinformation problem
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Updated information about the Sudan protests. Discover More…

Male Guardianship Tweets

Stepfeed, Saudi father criticizes the male guardianship system in viral tweet
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India-Pakistan Cyberwar

Reuters/NBC News, Facebook, Twitter sucked into India-Pakistan information war
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Hate Groups Online

Joan Donovan, Director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project, The Atlantic, How Hate Groups’ Secret Sound System Works Discover More…

Hijabi Influencers

CNET, At home in my hijab: How the internet helped me embrace modest clothing Discover More…

'The Dark Side of Social Media'

Neil Johnson, Physics World, The Dark Side of Social Media, 1 March 2019 Discover More…

'State of Social Media: Middle East 2018'

al-Bawaba, 5 Takeaways on Social Media in the Middle East in 2018 According to Oregon’s School of Journalism

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Managing the hate online when you're young, female and Muslim

BBC News, Ruqaiya Haris: managing the hate online when you're young, female and Muslim
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#WeareallMary #كلنا_مريم, They Are Beating Her! ‘We are all Mary’ Exposes Treatment of Palestinian Women in Jerusalem
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KSA Documentary

BBC iPlayer, The Real Saudi Arabia: Why I Had to Leave Discover More…

Social media and the 'Arab Uprising'

Washington Post, Eight years after Egypt’s revolution, here’s what we’ve learned about social media and protest
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Sudan and Social Media

Arab News, Social media aids Sudan opposition to spread protests
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Sudan Net Censorship

Reuters/Salaam Gateway, Sudan restricts social media access to counter protest movement, 2 Jan 2019
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British MPs seek access to detained Saudi activists amid torture claims

Guardian, British MPs seek access to detained Saudi activists amid torture claims, 2 Jan 2019
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Russians got more impact from regular social media posts than ads in election misinformation campaign

CNBC, Russians got more impact from regular social media posts than ads in election misinformation campaign Discover More…


A couple of interesting links to football content (from the Middle Eastern perspective) Discover More…

Iran Social Media Activist Dies on Hunger Strike

BBC News, Vahid Sayadi Nasiri: Jailed Iran activist dies on hunger strike
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Kashmir insurgents kill civilians, Kashmir insurgents kill civilians over spying suspicions, 4 Dec 2018
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Allegations: Jamal Khashoggi's private WhatsApp messages may offer new clues to killing

CNN, Jamal Khashoggi's private WhatsApp messages may offer new clues to killing, 4 Dec 2018 Discover More…

Radio and Social Media against Radicalisation

Rey-Luis Banagudos, Philippine News Agency, Using radio, social media to advocate peace, 2 Dec 2018
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Deplatforming Impact

Bijan Stephen, The Verge, Death of a provocateur

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How Instagram hides behind Facebook – and rakes in billions

Scott Greer, Medium/Guardian, How Instagram hides behind Facebook – and rakes in billions
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Research on Reddit

vox-pol, Upvoting Extremism, Part I: An Assessment Of Extreme Right Discourse On Reddit
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WhatsApp struggling to control fake news in India, researchers say

Guardian, WhatsApp struggling to control fake news in India, researchers say, 12 Nov 2018 Discover More…

Exploitation online

Reddit issues and the 'morality' of watching death online (implications in the e-jihad zone too)
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Canadian social media IS captive

Muhammed Ali was active on IS social media:, ‘I just want to go back’: Canadian ISIS fighter captured in northern Syria speaks out

Can We Finally Stop Terrorists From Exploiting Social Media?

Kalev Leetaru,, Can We Finally Stop Terrorists From Exploiting Social Media?, 9 Oct 2018
" … for all their public discourse, the platforms have taken little concrete action, reflecting both the economic realities that they have little incentive to invest in content moderation and the real-world complication that deleting terrorist content requires understanding context, not blindly deleting any post with a given keyword."

Muzmatch campaign

Muzmatch campaign

The dating agency Muzmatch, who I discuss briefly in
Hashtag Islam, have a new advertising campaign that picked up some traction on social media. See this article: Birmingham Mail, Why these new Muslim dating ads featuring Adele and Lionel Richie are making people laugh in Birmingham, 19 Sep 2018

Muzmatch campaign

Egypt: Social Media uproar on schools issue

BBC News, News from Elsewhere, Mickey Mouse expelled from Egypt schools, 28 Sep 2018 " ... Governor Marzouk's decree has come in for mockery on social media, with many users arguing that the authorities need to focus more on crammed classrooms and old-fashioned teaching methods."

Facebook recruiters jailed

Agence France Presse, The Daily Star, Spain court gives Facebook Daesh recruiters prison sentences, 26 Sep 2018 "A Spanish court has sentenced four people to prison terms of up to seven years for recruiting and indoctrinating supporters, mainly young Muslim women, for Daesh (ISIS) via Facebook."

Memes and Madhabs

Faisal Ali, On Religion, Memes and Madhabs 15 September 2018

"The memes started a few weeks back by
Zain Siddiqi, a young Muslim from Phoenix, Arizona.
“It began as a bit of fun” he told me. “I really enjoy making memes, but I also enjoy studying Islamic law and different aspects of the religion.”
“Initially I just thought I would tweet one out and it would get 10 likes or something, and I would just go back to making mundane political commentary on whatever was happening” he continues. “But all of a sudden people were saying how much they enjoyed them and how much they were learning from them.”

Diversity in Islam approached through memes.

Twitter reacts to Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s demise

Express Tribune, Twitter reacts to Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s demise, 11 Sep 2018

'The next billion users': Google targets India's lucrative mobile market

Guardian, 'The next billion users': Google targets India's lucrative mobile market, 11 Sep 2018

"As mobile markets in developed world near saturation, Google rolls out Neighbourly, its first Indian-inspired social network"

Man arrested after breakfast with woman in Saudi Arabia

BBC News, Man arrested after breakfast with woman in Saudi Arabia, 10 Sep 2018 "In the 30-second video, the man and woman briefly joke about eating their breakfast together, with nobody else invited."

Contrasting views were expressed on social media from Egypt and Saudi Arabia in relation to this incident.

Saudi Arabia Seeks Death Penalty Against Prominent Cleric, Saudi Arabia Seeks Death Penalty Against Prominent Cleric, 4 September 2018 "Salman Al-Odah was detained in September 2017. Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said at the time that the roundup of a diverse group of clerics, businessmen and intellectuals had targeted people who were “pushing an extremist agenda” with the help of foreign funding." Analysis/commentary.
I discuss Al-Odah in 'Hashtag Islam'.

Saudi and Amazon Deploy Twitter bots

albawaba, Manufacturing Consent: Saudi and Amazon Deploy Twitter Bots to Insist They Are Virtuous, 26 August 2018
opinion/analysis (with a nod to Chomsky): "The contemporary media landscape is experiencing a shift: as news is increasingly shared through and understood by social media, powerful companies and countries are exploiting loopholes to create hordes of accounts tweeting along regime and corporate lines. In so doing, manufacture an image of consent and create an air of doubt whenever a damaging report surfaces."

Hajj Representation

It's been interesting to review the output of CIC Saudi Arabia on Twitter during Hajj 2018, presenting human stories within the hajj.  Some examples are below (check my @garybunt Twitter feed for more):

The following video isn't on theYouTube channel yet, but here's a Twitter link: in contemporary times, the long distance journey to hajj on foot becomes all the more remarkable #hajj CIC Saudi Arabia, [@CICSaudi], "Hajj is over but for Othman AlShahin the journey is not over yet. The man who walked 450km to Hajj (the equivalent distance of #Paris to #Geneva) is now on his way home by foot. "

Tweet #garybunt