Dr. Paul Reilly, Senior Lecturer in Social Media and Digital Society at the University of Sheffield, shares his research on the role of social media in protests in Northern Ireland. We first discuss the “Irish Border Question” in relation to Brexit, and then hone in on two demonstrations in Northern Ireland: the union flag protests in 2013 and the Ardoyne parade dispute in 2014. The discussion highlights how much of the contemporary debates around Facebook and Twitter (e.g., disinformation, propaganda, and user privacy) have roots much earlier than the 2016 US election.
The two articles covered in the episode are:
#15: Social Media and Anti-Corruption Protests in Romania, with the Facebook Page ‘Corruption Kills’
Dr. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten guest hosts this episode and speaks with Mugur, an activist involved with running the Facebook page ‘Corruption Kills’, which helped carry out the largest protest in Romania since the fall of the Soviet Union. Dr. Segesten and Mugur discuss the role of social media in mobilizing and coordinating the protests, which were in response to an ordinance aimed at limiting the penalties for corruption by government officials. They discuss how the Facebook page was used as a medium for broadcasting fact-checked information to counter fake news, as well as a communication platform where citizens could coordinate activities in support of the protests.
#3: Öresundsrevolutionen and Facebook: Protesting Sweden’s Border Controls on Social Media, with Niels Paarup-Petersen
In late 2015, the Swedish government imposed border controls to stem the influx of migrants to Sweden from the refugee crisis. A small group of regional politicians in Southern Sweden set up a Facebook page, Öresundsrevolutionen, to protest the border controls. In this episode Niels Paarup-Petersen, a regional politician from the Center Party, shares his insight into how and why the movement to protest the border controls is taking place on Facebook. We discuss Öresundsrevolutionen’s communication strategy on Facebook, the role social media plays in advocating its message, and how the movement is using Facebook to place pressure on the Swedish government to repeal the border controls.