Hashtag heroes vs. disinfo dystopia: The left, the right, and the truth about social media activism
About this video
Recent scholarship has generated two distinct impressions of US-based social media activism, one for the ideological left and one for the right. For the left, the dominant mode of engagement is hashtag activism, which entails coordinated online and offline protest campaigns linked by hashtagged slogans. The right channels its priorities through a densely networked, hyperpartisan media ecosystem that makes frequent use of disinformation and other false claims. The respective empirical records underlying these portrayals are very solid, yet questions remain about how exclusively these strategic repertoires cling to ideological fault lines. In particular, there appears to be little extant research on either conservative hashtag-based activism or on left-leaning disinformation. A comprehensive understanding of social media activism demands further explorations of these possibilities, especially in the critical areas of mis- and disinformation. I pay special attention to how the events of Jan. 6 are likely to change scholarly perceptions of potential asymmetries in activist tactics.
About the Speaker
Felix is a OII DPhil Student, a research assistant at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and a Fellow at Columbia University's Tow Center. As a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholar he is researching AI in journalism and the news industry.
School of Media and Journalism
Deen Freelon is an associate professor in the School of Media and Journalism. His research covers political expression through digital media and data science and computational methods for analyzing large digital datasets.