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Social media content and sentiment analysis on consumer security breaches

Jianqiang Hao (First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, USA)
Hongying Dai (Department of Health Services and Outcomes Research, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, USA)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 3 October 2016




Security breaches have been arising issues that cast a large amount of financial losses and social problems to society and people. Little is known about how social media could be used a surveillance tool to track messages related to security breaches. This paper aims to fill the gap by proposing a framework in studying the social media surveillance on security breaches along with an empirical study to shed light on public attitudes and concerns.


In this study, the authors propose a framework for real-time monitoring of public perception to security breach events using social media metadata. Then, an empirical study was conducted on a sample of 1,13,340 related tweets collected in August 2015 on Twitter. By text mining a large number of unstructured, real-time information, the authors extracted topics, opinions and knowledge about security breaches from the general public. The time series analysis suggests significant trends for multiple topics and the results from sentiment analysis show a significant difference among topics.


The study confirms that social media monitoring provides a supplementary tool for the traditional surveys which are costly and time-consuming to track security breaches. Sentiment score and impact factors are good predictors of real-time public opinions and attitudes to security breaches. Unusual patterns/events of security breaches can be detected in the early stage, which could prevent further destruction by raising public awareness.

Research limitations/implications

The sample data were collected from a short period of time on Twitter. Future study could extend the research to a longer period of time or expand key words search to observe the sentiment trend, especially before and after large security breaches, and to track various topics across time.

Practical implications

The findings could be useful to inform public policy and guide companies responding to consumer security breaches in shaping public perception.


This study is the first of its kind to undertake the analysis of social media (Twitter) content and sentiment on public perception to security breaches.



Hao, J. and Dai, H. (2016), "Social media content and sentiment analysis on consumer security breaches", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 855-869.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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