Iran Feature: A Presidential Election on Twitter
Sunday, June 9, 2013 at 8:00
Scott Lucas in EA Iran, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Hassan Rouhani, Iran Elections 2013, Middle East and Iran, Mohammad Gharazi, Mohammad Reza Aref, Mostafa Moein, Saeed Jalili, Small Media, Twitter

London-based NGO Small Media, a self-described "action lab helping the free flow of information and creative expression in closed societies, with training, technology and research initiatives that focus on Iran", has published a report on the use of social media by Iran's Presidential candidates.

The report, covering 21-27 May, concludes that the "prevailing attitude is quite negative [about the election] among those on Twitter".

Small Media found that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani was the person most "worth following" on Twitter, despite his disqualification by the Guardian Council almost a week earlier.

Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, was the subject of the most tweets; however, only 21% of the communication was positive.

Reformist candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref was the least discussed with only 331 tweets, 59% of which were deemed "neutral". On the positive side, Aref --- frequently compared to Mostafa Moein, the main reformist candidate in the 2005 election, had no negative Twitter communication and a slight surge in numbers "liking" his Facebook page.

The most popular candidate, with 63% "positive" tweets was the moderate Hassan Rouhani. "Rowhani" --- an English variant of the surname --- was also second to "Iran" as the most frequently tweeted word in the Iranian election discussion.

[Editor's Note: The report probably under-estimated Rouhani's prominence on social media. It only appears to consider the spelling "Rowhani" and not "Rouhani" or "Rohani".]

The candidate with the most negative tweets was leading MP Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, with more than half expressing disapproval. The most re-tweeted post about the candidate was: "Media frenzy says: 'Political backbenchers are useless, Haddad-Adel is useless'."

The least-known of the candidates, Mohammad Gharazi, seems to have had a late surge in support, judging from the sudden increase in his unofficial (because of the Iranian ban) Facebook page --- it doubled in followers between 21 and 27 May.

Article originally appeared on EA WorldView (
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