Hashtag Heroes vs. Disinfo Dystopia: The left, the right, and the truth about social media activism

Friday, February 26, 2021, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm PSTiCal
VIRTUALThis event is open to the public.This is a virtual event available at:https://usc.zoom.us/j/96512268385
AI Seminar
Deen Freelon (UNC)
Video Recording:


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.

Suggested reading: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6508/1197


Deen Freelon is an associate professor in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who studies political uses of social media and other digital technologies. He is also a principal researcher for UNC's interdisciplinary Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP). He has authored or co-authored more than 50 journal articles, book chapters and public reports, in addition to co-editing one scholarly book. An expert in multiple programming languages including R, Python, and PHP, Freelon has written research-grade software applications for a range of computational research purposes. He formerly taught at American University in Washington, D.C.


The video link indicated above will be used for live stream viewing.

The speaker provided consent to be recorded, therefore, the playback link will be posted to USC/ISI's Youtube channel within 24-48 hours after the event concludes. 



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