Peaceful protest, political regimes, and the social media challenge
Childs, Geoffrey D.
Fleming, Randolph J.,II
Warren, T. Camber
Burks, Robert E.
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Information and communication technologies (ICT) have transformed with the advent of the Internet and the diffusion of cellular-based communications. Previous research has examined the effects of horizontal ICT on collective violence, but the effects on non-violent expressions are not well understood. Using social conflict data from Africa and Latin America between 1990 and 2011, this study employs negative binomial regression models to explore the distinct effects of the spread of social media on peaceful protests within democratic, anocratic, and autocratic regimes. Multiple regression models find strong statistical evidence in support of a positive relationship between social media and peaceful protest in anocratic regimes. Autocratic and anocratic states will thus increasingly find themselves in a social media challenge--repress horizontal ICT or embrace it and its effects--as their populations seek democratization.
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