Social Change In Social Media

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Though self identification created an environment where an individual could create authority for one’s self and use that to push for social change, a crucial aspect of the Arab Spring’s success was the ability for individuals to conceal their identities and use misinformation in order to protect themselves. Under repressive governmental structures, free speech and resistance against the government could lead to severe consequences. One of the ways that misinformation was used in the Arab Spring was “to falsify meeting times and locations of the protests to throw off security forces. The real times and locations were disseminated by telephone the morning of the protest” (El-Hibri 8). This tactic was useful as it allowed protests to occur with…show more content…
This is demonstrated in the social movements of the Arab Spring, the EuroMaidan revolution, and the Chilean student protest for educational reforms. A feature that caused social media to be so widely used in these movements was the increased connectivity between many groups of people regardless of location or social class. Collaboration was made more effective and further reaching than traditional news media because of the way that social networks, particularly Facebook, are structured. Facebook allows users to share information and events with their friends and on groups and pages that are created for common goals, such as the Student Federation of the University of Chile Facebook group. Twitter was less common in these particular social movements. Additionally, individuals were able to rally because of the safety and anonymity that social networks provided for them. Speaking out against the government was very dangerous in some of these movements, and as a result of that, people often constructed false identities in order to protect themselves from arrest and physical assault from police officers and security forces. Activists were also introduced to ways of concealing their identities through programs such as Tor, which provides users access to the Internet without leaving a trace. In addition to this, social media provided individuals such as Asmaa’ Mahfouz with a medium through which they could spread their thoughts and ideas. Mahfouz became one of the de facto faces of the Egyptian revolution as a result of a series of videos she posted on her Facebook profile encouraging others to come protest with her in the Tahrir Square. She was able to use the following she had gained to propel the movement forward. One of the drawbacks of the use of social media for these movements was the use of misinformation by radicals and opposition of the movement. They

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