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WeGov

92% of Pakistanis Encounter Online Hate Speech, Survey Finds

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, June 9 2014

Malala Yousafzai meets with President Obama (Photo: Pete Souza/White House)

In 2012, just after then 14-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by masked Taliban gunmen, the Pakistani cyberspace was briefly united—as pro-women and pro-education—but not for long. Soon a counter-narrative emerged, depicting Yousafzai as a pawn of the United States, or even a willing operative, and obscured the facts of her attack. Even a journalist who claims to support Yousafzai's cause, the universal right to education, has dismissed her as a “good native” that the West is using to act out their “savior complex,” which one could argue illustrates the “warped mindset” that the pro-Taliban narrative has spread amongst Pakistanis, and the potential real-world effects of hate speech.

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Understanding Hashtag Activism

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, June 6 2014

An illustration of how high up hashtag activism can go. (Wikipedia)

Kimberly Ellis opened the break out session on “Understanding Hashtag Activism” by addressing the trend of bashing hashtag activism (not to be confused with a bashtag). “In many ways,” she said, “hashtag activism is more positive than negative.”

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WeGov

The Internet is Not a Horseless Carriage: Talking Tech, Activism & Capacity Building With Zeynep Tufekci

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, June 6 2014

Zeynep Tufekci speaking at Personal Democracy Forum 2014 (photo: PDM)

Yesterday at Personal Democracy Forum, Zeynep Tufekci spoke in a session on “The Internet's Double-Edged Sword,” which covered the promise and potential of the Internet for both activists and regular citizens, and for authoritarian governments. Only Tufekci doesn't think that is the conversation we should be having—whether the Internet is good or bad, or better for citizens than government, or vice versa. When I asked whether she approaches a new social media movement with initial optimism or pessimism, she said neither.

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WeGov

From Memes to Movements

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, June 5 2014

Tweets about the #PDF14 break-out sessions on using memes to launch and build movements Read More

WeGov

Hashtag Activism Has Profound Psychological Effects On Movement Creators & Participants

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, June 5 2014

Screenshot of a #NotYourTigerLily tweet

It has become quite trendy these days to downplay or mock hashtag activism, or what many dismiss as “slacktivism.” The takeaway from the Thursday morning session on “The Internet's Double-Edged Sword” at Personal Democracy Forum, however, was that even seemingly small actions play an important role in movement building, especially on the psychological level.

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WeGov

Remembering to Forget: A Snapshot of Censorship in China on the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 4 2014

A quarter of a century has passed since the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, 1989, but the Chinese government is working as hard as ever to suppress memories and mentions of the event. This year: verbally blasting Google and other American technology companies through state media outlets, LinkedIn's capitulation to censorship demands, even outside mainland China, and more than 64 Tiananmen-related words blocked from online searches today, including the word “today.”

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WeGov

The Trolls on Putin's Payroll

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, June 3 2014

Self-explanatory (Wikipedia)

“If it looks like Kremlin shit, smells like Kremlin shit, and tastes like Kremlin shit too — then it’s Kremlin shit,” says Moscow-based writer and columnist Leonid Bershidsky, about Internet trolls-for-hire who have been paid to post laudatory comments about Putin and Russia on English-language news articles. Buzzfeed's Max Seddon reports on the leaks that reveal Russia's offensive strategy to win friends and influence people abroad.

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WeGov

Face Off in Chile: Net Neutrality v. Human Right to Facebook & Wikipedia

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, June 2 2014

Photo: Wikipedia

Is Internet access a human right, as important as access to education, healthcare and housing? Mark Zuckerberg thinks so, and it inspired him to launch internet.org, an initiative to connect “the next five billion.” So does the United Nations, which declared Internet access a human right in 2011, one that should not be denied even in times of conflict as a means of quelling unrest. And yet the latest blow to cheap and easy access to the Internet (and by the Internet we mean Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia) comes not from an authoritarian state cracking down on an unruly population, but from a government playing by the rules of net neutrality.

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WeGov

Amidst "Apocalyptic" Floods, People of the Balkans Use Facebook for Relief and Rescue

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 30 2014

One of the many photos flagged as fake.

The floods that have ravaged the Balkans this month have been called “apocalyptic” and the resulting damage, officials say, is likely worse than the damage incurred during the three year conflict between Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats in the 1990s. At least 74 people died because of the flooding and nearly 900,000 were forced from their homes. The governments in Serbia and Bosnia, as well as foreign media, have been criticized for failing victims and the region as a whole. Meanwhile, social media, and Facebook in particular, has been heralded as a tool for “information-sharing, social activism, voluntary work, and even a watchdog mechanism.”

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WeGov

Thai Coup Selfies: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 28 2014

Screenshot of a Thai Coup Selfie

A selfie may not be worth a thousand words, but it seems as if they are doing more in Thailand than might be immediately apparent. Based in part on this CNN article, I wrote in a techPresident post last week that the selfies were evidence that Thais were “taking the news [of martial law] in stride.” It seems I did not give the selfies or indeed the selfie takers enough credit.

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