Sentiment analysis of the Twitter response to Netflix's Our Planet documentary

Alberto Acerbi*, John Burns, Unal Cabuk, Jakub Kryczka, Bethany Trapp, John Joseph Valletta, Alex Mesoudi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The role of nature documentaries in shaping public attitudes and behavior toward conservation and wildlife issues is unclear. We analyzed the emotional content of over 2 million tweets related to Our Planet, a major nature documentary released on Netflix, with dictionary and rule-based automatic sentiment analysis. We also compared the sentiment associated with species mentioned in Our Planet and a set of control species with similar features but not mentioned in the documentary. Tweets were largely negative in sentiment at the time of release of the series. This effect was primarily linked to the highly skewed distributions of retweets and, in particular, to a single negatively valenced and massively retweeted tweet (>150,000 retweets). Species mentioned in Our Planet were associated with more negative sentiment than the control species, and this effect coincided with a short period following the airing of the series. Our results are consistent with a general negativity bias in cultural transmission and document the difficulty of evoking positive sentiment, on social media and elsewhere, in response to environmental problems.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14060
Number of pages10
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number4
Early online date10 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Nature documentaries
  • Conservation culturomics
  • Social media
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Negative bias
  • Cultural evolution


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