Military Public Diplomacy 2.0: The Arabic Facebook Page of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Spokesperson

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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  • 1 Sammy Ofer School of Communications, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Herzliya 4610101, Israel

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Summary

The Arabic-language Facebook page of the Israeli Defense Forces’ spokesperson has attracted a massive following in the Arab world and serves as an interesting and unique case study towards understanding the effect of a military public diplomacy initiative. Content analysis of the Facebook page reveals a mixture of power and deterrence messages, with posts designed to emphasize shared values. Analysis of audience engagement with those messages — measured by ‘likes’, ‘shares’, comments and negative feedback — surprisingly reveals that shared values’ messages generated a similar level of engagement to other messages, which may show that the content does not play a significant role in users’ engagement. In addition, the analysis reveals that during periods of heightened intensity in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, followers’ engagement and negative feedback rose dramatically. This study provides a unique perspective of the relevance and effectiveness of military public diplomacy in the era of online social networks.