Countries of a Feather: Analyzing Homophily and Connectivity Between Nations Through Facebook Data

TPRC 46: The 46th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy 2018


Weaponising 280 characters: What 200,000 Tweets and 4,000 Bots tell us About State of Twitter in Sri Lanka
| April, 2018

22-page report investigating the rash of bot followers haunting Sri Lankan users on Twitter after March 2018. Analyses 17 block lists, discovered some 4000 bots, and went through over 200,000 tweets. The goal was to analyze the people these bots are following – they seem to be homing in on socially active commentators on Sri Lankan politics – and to extract the logic behind how the bot network operates. We discuss theories at the end – my favourite is that there’s some company building up banks of bots across South Asia (something flagged by FT China) for potential sale later.

The Facebook ban in Sri Lanka: a 30,000 foot view
| March, 2018

Analyses 63,800 Facebook posts and 30,000 tweets to examine whether the block actually worked. Follows with a qualitative analysis of the effects, and a note on the legalities around the matter. Last is an appendix of pages analyzed for this report. My summary is that this block was about as useful as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.

Mapping Election Influence on Social Media: Part One – Twitter
| August, 2015

The 2015 general election in Sri Lanka was the first where traditional analysts started paying attention to social media. This report analyzes Twitter conversation around the 2016 election hashtags to identify nodes of influence and control in the conversation.

Mapping Election Influence on Social Media: Part Two – Facebook
| August, 2015

Extends the analysis onto Facebook, which is the most used social media platform in Sri Lanka, recording the growth, influence and tactics of politicians during the General Election 2015.

This is the Colombo Port City?
| March, 2015

An in-depth, investigative piece into the secretive Colombo Port City project, which in 2015 was still under a shroud of government-imposed secrecy. I was one of the first journalists allowed in. Contains maps, plans, theories, details, and was lauded for being one of the most informative pieces written on the Port City (see comments on