AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

E-mobilising the masses for the Web’s biggest protest: An analysis of Fight for the Future‘s Online Activist Campaigns against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

by Yannick Edgard Ilunga

Institution: University of Helsinki
Year: 2015
Keywords: Viestintä
Record ID: 1132243
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/153760


Over the last two decades, social movements and protest groups have been reshaped by their use of the Internet and ICT technology. On the one hand, such tools have helped social movements find and disseminate information, recruit participants, organise, coordinate, and make decisions (Kavada, 2010: 101). Groups such as the Zapatistas, hailed ̳first informational guerrilla movement‘ by Castells (2004), are an example of how protest groups have been reshaped by the adoption of the Web ICT technology. On the other hand, the Internet has generated a new form of protest: online activism. Despite the proliferation of online activist campaigns, this form of ―activism through clicks‖ has been subjected to criticism (Morozov, 2009a, 2009b, 2011; Christensen, 2011, 2012). For the slacktivist critique, such typology of activism does not appear to be motivated by and does not seem to aim at solving issues of political nature and of global resonance. This study focuses on the SOPA Strike, protest launched in response to the Stop Online Piracy Act. The American nonprofit Fight for the Future, successfully managed to engage and mobilise thousands of Internet users, advocacy groups, tech companies, gamers and other groups who, on January 18, 2012, joined the largest protest in the history of the Internet. By looking at three online campaigns the NGO launched in response to SOPA – Free Bieber, American Censorship Day and Boycott GoDaddy – as well as its discourse on social media, this thesis tries to identify the tactics Fight for the Future used to enhance e-mobilisation. Keywords: online activism, e-mobilisation, protest tactics, SOPA, Fight for the Future, slacktivism