Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

How social media facilitates political protest: information, motivation and social networks

Barberá, Pablo, Jost, John T., Bonneau, Richard, Langer, Melanie, Metzger, Megan, Nagler, Jonathan, Sterling, Joanna and Tucker, Joshua A. (2018) How social media facilitates political protest: information, motivation and social networks. Political Psychology, 39 (S1). pp. 85-118. ISSN 0162-895X

Full text not available from this repository.
Identification Number: 10.1111/pops.12478


It is often claimed that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are profoundly shaping political participation, especially when it comes to protest behavior. Whether or not this is the case, the analysis of “Big Data” generated by social media usage offers unprecedented opportunities to observe complex, dynamic effects associated with large‐scale collective action and social movements. In this article, we summarize evidence from studies of protest movements in the United States, Spain, Turkey, and Ukraine demonstrating that: (1) Social media platforms facilitate the exchange of information that is vital to the coordination of protest activities, such as news about transportation, turnout, police presence, violence, medical services, and legal support; (2) in addition, social media platforms facilitate the exchange of emotional and motivational contents in support of and opposition to protest activity, including messages emphasizing anger, social identification, group efficacy, and concerns about fairness, justice, and deprivation as well as explicitly ideological themes; and (3) structural characteristics of online social networks, which may differ as a function of political ideology, have important implications for information exposure and the success or failure of organizational efforts. Next, we issue a brief call for future research on a topic that is understudied but fundamental to appreciating the role of social media in facilitating political participation, namely friendship. In closing, we liken the situation confronted by researchers who are harvesting vast quantities of social media data to that of systems biologists in the early days of genome sequencing.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 International Society of Political Psychology
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2018 11:37
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2024 22:39
Projects: SES‐1248077, SES‐1248077‐001
Funders: INSPIRE program of the National Science Foundation, New York University's Global Institute for Advanced Study, Dean Thomas Carew's Research Investment Fund

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item