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#BringBackOurGirls: How a Hashtag Took Hold

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 7 2014

Comparison of #bringbackourgirls, #chibokgirls and #bringbackourdaughters hashtags (Topsy/Screengrab)

When it comes to online activist movements, such as the now infamous KONY 2012 effort, the question under discussion often ends up being to what degree online action can motivate offline action. But a close look at a new online call that has taken hold over the past weeks, #BringBackOurGirls, shows that the power of a hashtag can be in the much more complex interplay between online and offline actions that reinforce and intensify each other. Read More

WeGov

7 Things You Didn't Know About Vietnam's Net

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 4 2014

Screenshot of Vietmeme's Twitter profile

Vietnam has an active Internet culture of civic engagement, but it can be hard to see because it is relatively ephemeral and dispersed over multiple networks. A one stop shop for a snapshot of Vietnam's online community is Vietmeme, a kind of front page for the Vietnamese Internet.

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WeGov

After "Recognizing" Kosovo, Facebook Denies Political Agency

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, November 26 2013

Until 2008 Kosovo didn't have its own flag. Now it also has Facebook status. (matt.lutton/flickr)

After Facebook finally listed Kosovo as its own country, rather than lumping it together with Serbia, from which it declared independence more than five years ago, the Kosovo Minister of European Integration, Vlora Citaku, tweeted that Facebook “recognizes” Kosovo as a state, and tagged her comment #digitaldiplomacy. When Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reached out to Facebook for comment, however, the company was quick to distance itself from any political agency that it might be ascribed.

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WeGov

Study Says Social Movements "Should Never Be Called a Twitter or Facebook Revolution"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, November 22 2013

A report on Digital Activism and Non-Violent Conflict was released this month by the Digital Activism Research Project. It found that the role of hacking and cybercrime in digital activism is grossly overstated by the media and that Facebook and Twitter are the leading platforms for activism on a global scale, but that other tools do well on a smaller, regional scale. The study found no causation or correlation between specific tools and positive outcomes.

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WeGov

Saudi Arabia Blocks Online Petition to Lift Ban on Women Drivers

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, October 10 2013

An alternative headline

The drive to get Saudi women behind the wheel has been long and arduous. Women have been protesting the ban on women drivers since the early '90s. An online petition created in September has thrust the issue into the spotlight once more, with everyone from the religious police to pseudo-scientists weighing in. In what seems like promising news, three women, members of the council that advises King Abdullah, recommended earlier this week that the ban on women driving be lifted. But the country-wide blocking of the online petition suggests authorities are not yet ready to listen, in spite of their claims otherwise.

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WeGov

Chinese Netizens Get Revenge On Official Who Arrested 16-Year-Old Blogger

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 25 2013

This picture of Yang flashing the victory sign is being retweeted by a number of netizens on Weibo (screenshot/Weibo)

The Chinese authorities like to push their boundaries when it comes to policing the Internet. We know they tell media outlets what they can and cannot write, set up an online platform where they could debunk rumors and deny official wrongdoing, and operate possibly the most sophisticated online surveillance and censorship apparatus in the world. Recently the government began a crackdown on online rumormongering that has resulted in hundreds of arrests. It was the arrest of of 16-year-old boy in the Gansu Province that was one step too far for Chinese netizens. The online outrage and activism that followed the arrest eventually led to the boy's release, and to the subsequent suspension of the police chief who oversaw the boy's detention.

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WeGov

Senegal's “Soft Revolution” Makes Change in Digital Space

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, June 25 2013

Senegal Electoral Map

Senegalese activist and blogger Cheikh Fall explains how Sunu2012, a participatory platform that he developed to monitor the electoral process during Sengal's presidential election in 2012, reveals a growing “soft revolution” among young activists in Senegal. Read More

WeGov

In Saudi Arabia, an Online Campaign Raises Awareness of Violence Against Women

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, May 30 2013

Screenshot of photos from the Libra Facebook page

Only a few weeks after Saudi Arabia launched its first major campaign against domestic violence, another campaign has picked up momentum on social media. Sponsored by Libra Productions, the campaign slogan is “Hit her (I dare you).”

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WeGov

To Protest Judge's Sentence, Iranians Launch Viral Feminist Campaign on Facebook

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, April 26 2013

A collage of photos from the Kurdish Men For Equality Facebook page

On April 15, police paraded a convicted criminal dressed in traditional Kurdish women’s clothing through the streets of Marivan, Iran, in accordance with a judge’s sentence. A local feminist organization, the Marivan Women’s Community, found the sentence humiliating to Kurdish women, and organized a protest. The protest moved online to a Facebook page with the tagline: “Being a woman is not humiliating and should not be considered punishment.” Overnight, the page garnered 3,800 fans. One week later, it now has more than 10,000 fans. The protest has prompted 17 members of Iran’s parliament to sign a letter to the Justice Ministry calling the punishment “humiliating to Muslim women.”

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WeGov

With Bloggers in Mind, Bangladeshi Islamist Group Demands Law Against Blasphemy

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, April 19 2013

The links to suspended Bangladesh blogs.

A radical pro-Islam group has demanded the Bangladesh government introduce a new blasphemy law in order to suppress a growing number of “atheist bloggers.” However, four bloggers have already been arrested for posting “anti-religious” statements on their blogs. Among the arrested is the award-winning blogger Asif Mohiuddin. His blog and the three others were taken down by the hosting platform, Somewhereinblog.net, after operators received takedown requests from the Bangladesh government.

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News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

First POST: Tribes

Edward Snowden on the Internet's impact on political polarization; trying to discern Hillary Clinton's position on NSA reform; why Microsoft is bullish on civic tech; and much, much more GO

monday >

First POST: Inventions

How voter data-sharing among GOP heavyweights is still lagging; why Facebook's News Feed scares news publishers; Google's ties to the State Department; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Spoilers

How the GOP hasn't fixed its tech talent gap; the most tech-savvy elected official in America, and the most tech-savvy state-wide candidate; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hot Spots

How Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is making inroads in China; labor protests among Uber drivers spread to more cities; new data about the prevalence of online harassment; and much, much more. GO

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