Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

What Are COVID-19 Arabic Tweeters Talking About?

Version 1 : Received: 8 July 2020 / Approved: 9 July 2020 / Online: 9 July 2020 (07:25:19 CEST)

How to cite: Hamoui, B.; Alashaikh, A.; Alanazi, E. What Are COVID-19 Arabic Tweeters Talking About?. Preprints 2020, 2020070172 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0172.v1). Hamoui, B.; Alashaikh, A.; Alanazi, E. What Are COVID-19 Arabic Tweeters Talking About?. Preprints 2020, 2020070172 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0172.v1).

Abstract

The new coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) has swept the world since December 2019 posing a global threat to all countries and communities on the planet. Information about the outbreak has been rapidly spreading on different social media platforms in unprecedented level. As it continues to spread in different countries, people tend to increasingly share information and stay up-to-date with the latest news. It is crucial to capture the discussions and conversations happening on social media to better understand human behavior during pandemics and alter possible strategies to combat the pandemic. In this work, we analyze the Arabic content of Twitter to capture the main discussed topics among Arabic users. We utilize Non-negative Matrix Factorization (NMF) to discover main issues and topics based on a dataset of Arabic tweets from early January to the end of April, and identify the most frequent unigrams, bigrams, and trigrams of the tweets. The final discovered topics are then presented and discussed which can be roughly classified into COVID-19 origin topics, prevention measures in different Arabic countries, prayers and supplications, news and reports, and finally topics related to preventing the spread of the disease such as curfew and quarantine. To our best knowledge, this is the first work addressing the issue of detecting COVID-19 related topics from Arabic tweets.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; Twitter; Topic Discovery; Arabic

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