Dubai, UAE, Cape Town, South Africa – 11 June 2017
The Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) and BrandsEye, a world leading opinion mining company, announced today the completion of the first sentiment study conducted in the United Arab Emirates on the topic of tolerance in the UAE.
Working in coordination with the team of HE Sheikha Lubna bint Khaled Al Qassimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, the study focused primarily on the topic of tolerance and social media user's opinion of the Minister's announcements, activities and the news shared on the Minister's official social media profiles.
During the research project, approximately 1.4 million unique posts shared by 172,000 social media users in the UAE were analyzed by opinion mining partner BrandsEye. BrandsEye uses a data analytics approach which combines search algorithms, crowd-sourcing and machine learning to accurately analyze conversations for sentiment and the topics driving that sentiment. The study was conducted over the period of three consecutive months earlier this year, and the findings were presented to Minister and her team during a recent visit to the FCSA headcounters.
The study findings highlighted that of all the posts analyzed, 20.5% expressed positive sentiment, 70% was neutral while only 4.5% of conversations were negative. Of the positive sentiment, 44% of the posts were expressed during the holidays in December were pictures of various religious communities in the UAE were shared practicing their faith in complete freedom. The remainder of the positive posts were praising the UAE policies and inclusion ,cohesion tolerance related activities and covering other topics such as low unemployment rates and attributing it to UAE providing an equal opportunity for everyone living on its land.
"The findings were very interesting and I am very delighted that people were mainly positive and/or neutral when it came to how they felt towards our announcements, programs and activities in and outside the UAE," commented HE Sheikh Lubna. "Policy and data are very interrelated in the decision making process. Knowing how people feel, adds a new layer of knowledge and insight that support drive more effective and impactful policies and initiatives for the people."
"Because of fake news, orchestrated and agenda-driven social engineering, many policy makers around the world are struggling to understand and collect accurate information and sentiment about their constituents. As decision makers, we have a grand responsibility to make sure we rely on accurate and effective scientific methods to have a better understanding of what really matters to the people," added HE Shaikha Lubna.
"We are very excited to be working with Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna's office and the team in FCSA on this important project. The world of opinion mining is set to change the way governments and business conduct research, providing accurate data that will help drive better decision making at all levels," said JP Kloppers, BrandsEye CEO. "The sheer quantity of online conversations coupled with the instantaneous reactivity of this digital chatter has meant that sentiment-driven opinion data has become a mineable resource that gives one unique insight into how the public actually feel.
Kloppers added that fake news and what is known as 'news feed bubbles' are creating significant pockets of public opinion that are not based on truth, undermining the legitimacy (and demand for) their journalism. "Opinion mining offers a way for media to accurately measure and report on public opinion, regardless of its veracity," added Kloppers.
"Organizations around the world now have access to millions of relevant data points in both mature and developing markets. The data, if mined correctly, can provide insights that not only assist in decision-making, but also can shape product innovation and help reduce risk," said Abdulla Lootah, Director General of the FCSA.
"As a UAE federal government official reference on all matters related to statistics, competitiveness and data, it is part of FCSA's mandate to explore, identify and adopt the latest global trends and technology to serve our stakeholders. Our collaboration with BrandsEye is just the beginning and to a new dimension on how we plan to transform the statistics and data business in the UAE. We look forward to more engagements on various topics across the UAE," concluded Mr. Lootah.