Trends beyond words | Words behind trends

Sitting at home, staring at the computer (or phone) screen, peaking through the window. For millions of people, this daily and hourly sequence is the new meaning of routine, defined by the pandemic. We work, laugh, communicate, and worry surrounded by screens and devices. In this new normal, social media gain a new, elevated, perhaps undeserved, meaning. From a funny and often annoying communication mesh, it turns into an important channel to share about problems.

“how are you? im about to be divorced!! unemployed is the reason.. landlord and agent is evicting family too.. what next!!!” 

Justice needs on social media
On Twitter, Facebook, Vkontakte, Weibo, Instagram and the likes people talk about everything. Covid, politics, sports, music, jokes, Tesla, money – it is all there. There is no reason to believe that justice is not part of the chatter. Especially during the pandemic, social media carries bits of knowledge and information about the justice needs of people. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know which justice issues people are bothered with? What do they do about these issues? Is justice seen in positive or negative nuances? Do justice issues occur more in the morning or in the evening? Are men more likely to get into legal trouble than women? What can we do with this knowledge?

“We don’t sleep at night in Lagos robbery is increasing everyday give us palliative relief and stop discrimination and tribalism”

What are people saying on social media
To address some of these questions, HiiL tapped into Twitter and Facebook during the months of the pandemic. We looked globally and gathered 79 million Covid-19 and justice-relevant messages from January to July 2020. Next, we got deeper into 9 countries where we work on transforming justice and extracted more than half of millions of messages. A trained machine learning mechanism classified these messages as relevant to justice. Insights from this data is now available in our recent report, JUSTICE IN THE COVID-19 CRISIS: WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

“I can’t even talk about the rate of domestic violence at the moment . It’s spreading at the same rate as Covid… may have accurate statistics but families are suffering in silence the adversities of this vice. #COVID19UG”

Some of the insights that you will find in the report:

  • Since the beginning of the pandemic globally people talk more about crimes and domestic violence;
  • In March and April, there was a lot of talk about medical bill disputes, financial disputes, and employment disputes;
  • In the focus-countries, the peak of messages about legal problems is in June. It only took 2-3 months after the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic for people to start talking and worrying about legal problems;
  • From 1 to 100, the average sentiment score of the legal problems is 38 – way below the point of neutrality.

For more findings as well as direct access to the data we invite you to visit the report page at: https://dashboard.hiil.org/covid-19-social-media-data

If you are interested in the topic, leave a message in the feedback form and share the report with others in your network.