Half of the top 10 protest movements on Twitter last year were generated by less than 10% of the users involved in the campaigns, according to an analysis by The Yomiuri Shimbun.
Such campaigns have spread quickly since the outbreak of the coronaviruses and claims made by a small portion of users have been amplified, according to the analysis.
Some campaigns appearing on the platform's list of trending topics have been caused by calls to post tweets with a specific hashtag at a certain time and date.
In Japan, Twitter had 45 million users in 2017. The simplicity of the service has made it a popular platform for protest movements.
The number of posts is sometimes not always proportional to the number of users, as tweeters can have multiple accounts and post large numbers of messages.
JX Press Corp., a Tokyo-based data analysis company, has partnered with the data analysis company JX Press Corp. Yomiuri Shimbun chose the top 10 protest movements that trended on Twitter from January to November 2022 to the Yomiuri Shimbun.
The hashtag against former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's state funeral appeared on the trending topics section 14 times with a total of 646,296 posts.
A closer look revealed that of the 90,687 accounts that posted tweets with the hashtag, 3,340 — or 3.7% — were responsible for half of the posts. A total of 4,219 tweets were linked to one account, and 10 accounts were responsible for more than 1,000 tweets.
A hashtag against welfare benefits for foreigners was second on the list, appearing in section 11 times with a total of 358,790 posts. Of the 69,555 accounts that included the hashtag, 4,170 — or 6% — were responsible for half of the posts.
Half of the posts were responsible for the 10 campaigns analyzed by an average of 9.4% of accounts.
On the internet, people with strong opinions tend to publish a lot of information, and the same is true for Twitter protest movements, said Shinichi Yamaguchi, associate professor at the International University of Japan.
If people don't understand that online public opinion does not accurately represent public opinion, we run the risk of being overly influenced by strong views and making bad decisions.