Saudi youth and Social Media

I read this article in the NYTimes and it is right on topic. I am currently preparing for my proposal defense and I believe that this article is a great teaser to what my study is going to be about, and the study expected results and contributions.

Some interesting points:

“Young women who cannot find jobs sell food or jewelry through Instagram. Since they are banned from driving, they get rides from car services like Uber and Careem. ” This is a true statement. In recent years the number of shops on Instagram tripled and the sale usually is conducted through WhatsApp. What is interesting in this behavior is that Saudi Sales men and women decided to ignore sites like Etsy and ebay that make the shopping experience easy and are designed specificully with shopping and selling in mind. To social media platforms like instagram and WhatsApp that were designed for different purposes in mind.  This is one of many other examples where Saudi youth made technologies their own, or in the words of the article author “Many have used the new technologies in uniquely Saudi ways.”

Another one is regarding the use of social media for romance and intimacy

“For Raqad Alabdali, a conservative 22-year-old from a Riyadh suburb, romance began when a man she did not know responded to her melancholy posts on Twitter with a private message. They were soon messaging constantly.” Romance and intimacy over social media is not very surprising … many stories here in the US and Europe show how applications like Tender and Grinder are helping men and women find their other half.. What is unique in the Saudi version of the story is that women and men are segregated in many aspects of the public life in Saudi.. so when they meet on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook it is totally random and some could end up in marriage and some dont.

The article shares the example of Raqad who continues her story ” They exchanged phone numbers for an occasional call, and she eventually sent him a photo of herself unveiled, in a white dress with bare shoulders and eye makeup on her uncovered face. He said he wanted to marry her. His mother called hers. The couple is planning a family meeting to make their engagement formal, Ms. Alabdali said. It will be their first time in the same room.“I don’t have any doubt that he’ll marry me or is serious about me,” Ms. Alabdali said. Why so sure? Her older brother and his wife met on Facebook.”

I will be sharing a version of my proposal once it is ready for publishing. Stay tuned…

Facebook Scraper Update

Hi all,

Thank you to all of our supporters and users for the comments and feedback they shared with us ! Your feedback was heard and an updated app is now available.


How to use it: 

First thing first, select from the dropdown menu whether it is a page or a group. Then enter the Facebook “page” or “group” name into the text box and the date range. And voila…

What is new: 

1- The results now appear in a table indicating the type of the post (image, text, URL, etc.)

2- We added all the types of posts .. not only text.

Please feel free to share your comments and feedback to help us improve.

***If you are planning to use this tool in your publishable research I would appreciate it if you referenced the tool/blog in your reference list.  The citation style will be for a “website” and the author is Abokhodair, N.

Arab Youth and Social Media: The case of Saudi Arabia — My paper at CHI 2015

Last week I was at CHI 2015: The Conference on Computer Human Interaction, which was held in Seoul, Korea. CHI is one of the worlds leading conferences in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and part of The Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM). I am honored to have been a part of the conference Doctoral Consortium to present on my dissertation research titled:Transmigrant Saudi Arabian Youth and Social Media: Privacy, Intimacy and Freedom of Expression (PDF). You can also find it in the ACM Library online.

Paper abstract: The diverse ways in which Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are modified and appropriated into local contexts is an important theme in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research. In my dissertation I propose to investigate the use of social media by transmigrant Saudi Arabian youth living between the USA and Saudi Arabia. In particular, I aim to understand how youth conceptualize values such as privacy, intimacy, and freedom of expression across different cultures, and how they appropriate social media during their transnational experience.

Talking about my background and how it relates to my dissertation research. #chi2015
Talking about my background and how it relates to my dissertation research. #chi2015

I highly encourage Ph.D. students in their dissertation proposal stage to participate in Doctoral Consortiums at their favorite conference. Cause it is a great opportunity to receive feedback from experts in the field and other Ph.Ds, in addition to being the best environment to meet and make new Ph.D. friends.

With my friends from the Doctoral Consortium posing in traditional Korean outfits.

If you had questions regarding CHI DC please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you!

On using automated social actors to spreading political propaganda

If you are interested in the different ways bots could influence the social discourse online I totally recommend reading this great article I recently read on how bots can manipulate social media and spread political propaganda .

The author of the article is John Borthwick. Also, Gilad Lotan discusses this issue in his Medium.

Blogs and Bullets workshop at Stanford


This past Friday (March 6, 2015) I participate in a workshop titled Blogs and Bullets and hosted by the PeaceTech Lab, George Washington University, and the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University.

I was honored to be participate and be part of the discussion on the use of Social Media analysis in research around Political and Natural crises. In my opinion, this is an important discussion to continue guiding the social computing and political research discourse to more rigors results and to benefit the users.

Thank you!

Facebook Post Browser: Now available for Facebook Pages!!

It is finally here… I am happy to announce that my Facebook Post Browser tool can now help you browse Facebook Pages.

In the past few months I received many comments from researchers and students who work on research related to Facebook users asking me to improve the tool to browse Facebook Pages in addition to Facebook open Groups. With this new update it will be simple to see all the posts of a Facebook Page for the time range you set. Here is how you can use the tool for pages:

1- Go to

2- you will login with your Facebook account credentials and get to this page

3- From the drop-down menu select Page


4- Enter the name of the page you are interested in browsing

Tip: I usually find the name of the page in the URL


5- Select the data range of the posts you would like to retrieve

6- Finally, press submit and wait for a few seconds for the results.


I hope this is beneficial for many of you conducting research on Facebook Groups and Pages.I would like to hear your opinion, so please share your comments and feedback regarding this tools.

** Copyright: If you are planning to use this tool in your publishable research I would appreciate it if you can reference the tool/blog in your reference list.  The citation style will be for a “website” and the author is Abokhodair, N.