How does Africa tweet?

How does Africa tweet?

Africans are tweeting more about politics, and Korean spam robots are taking over hashtags in some countries. This, and more, was revealed in the How Africa Tweets reports by Portland Communications. The annual report examines Twitter trends and hashtags in African countries often revealing surprising results. This year, the report examined 1.6 billion tweets and 5,000 hashtags from last year.


One stand out is that politics take up 10 percent of tweets geotagged in African countries. Twitter may be ideal platform for citizens of African countries due to the low bandwidth the application consumes. Africans are using Twitter to engage in serious debate on politics and government, as well as criticise corrupt governments.


(Quartz Africa)

(Quartz Africa)

For example, Twitter was used last year to monitor electoral processes as seen in the #NigeriaDecides hashtag, which was one of the most prominent in Nigeria. Tweets relating to entertainment, sports, and business follow those on politics. Twitter also seems to be encouraging pan-African relations, as the report shows that Africans show interest in what is happening across borders in other African countries. Egypt sent out more tweets (700,000 total) on #FeesMustFall, the South African protests for reforms in the education sector, than South Africa itself tweeting only 160,000 in comparison.


Then again, Gabon tweeted a lot about #biafra when separatist sentiments in south-eastern Nigeria once again reached a high last year. Similarly, Angola’s top hashtag was #kinshasha. Egypt accounts for 28 percent of all geotagged tweets from the continent, following behind are Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana, respectively. A huge majority of the top hashtags were in English at 77 percent, with Arabic and French coming in a far second and third.


A good number of countries tweeted using their own countries as hashtags. For example, Niger’s top hashtag was #niger; this is the same in Botswana, Ethiopia, and Swaziland. Then comes the mystery of hashtags in Korean and Japanese that made the top 5 for tweeted tagged in countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, Central African Republic and Liberia. Apparently, the Japanese hashtags came from a someone in Japan who had lost this job. The Korean ones, on the other hand, were the work of Twitter spambots tweeting about Korean pop stars and geotagging countries with low Twitter populations to escape been deleted.


Is the How Africa Tweets report an accurate depiction of African tweeting activity? Share your thoughts in a comment below or by telling me on Twitter @rafeeeeta

Rafeeat Aliyu

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