Can a negative representation of refugees in social media lead to compassion fatigue? An analysis of the perspectives of a sample of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Turkey
MetadataShow full item record
CitationAldamen, Y. (2023). Can a negative representation of refugees in social media lead to compassion fatigue? An analysis of the perspectives of a sample of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Turkey. Journalism and Media, 4(1), 90-104. https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia4010007
Negative, tragic, traumatic and suffering representations continue to dominate the discussions and content on social media in the stories and content related to Syrian refugees. The public, while browsing social media, finds that this representation is the dominant one that dominates the image of refugees. Thus, there is a potential risk that the public’s compassion will be negatively affected after repeated exposure to the dominant representation in light of the inability to put an end to that situation. This study discusses the perspectives of Syrian refugees living in Jordan and Turkey on whether they feel such repeated negative and tragic content about their stories and news on social media could affect the empathy of the audience in hosting communities with them, especially since social media is an open-source platform that all people at any time and from any place can post, re-share, comment and create content by adding texts, photos and videos, not like traditional media, which are controlled more than social media platforms for open participatory content. This study aims to explore how a vulnerable population, such as Syrian refugees in Istanbul and Amman, sees the effect of negative representation on themselves and their image in the hosting communities and does not aim to examine or offer any conclusion as to whether the public in Jordan and Turkey have experienced compassion fatigue. This study provides and extracts some useful insights, but proves no hypotheses or conclusive evidence regarding the occurrence of compassion fatigue in the public; thus, the study opens the door for the debate on the role that social media plays as a source of compassion fatigue among citizens towards refugees, mainly when they are repeatedly exposed to such negative stories and content, as well as calls for an in-depth and extensive study on the topic from the point of view of the public and citizens in the hosting countries, after examining, understanding and analyzing the opinions and their dimensions of the sample of refugees in this study.