E-Movements and E-Mobilizations: A Twitter Analysis of Two Campaigns of the Anonymous Hacktivist Movement

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Jared WRIGHT, Purdue University, USA
By analyzing Twitter data related to two November 2014 protest campaigns of the Anonymous global social movement, this paper explores how and why movement actors used the public social media platform to help organize and communicate information. First, I address the question of how by quantitatively examining tweets which used hashtags and other terms specifically pertaining to one campaign, the Million Mask March. I identify four chronological phases (planning, situational, action, and aftermath) throughout the duration of the march. I also conduct a thematic qualitative analysis in order to see in greater detail what movement actors are saying during the peak hours of the march, from which I derive four categories of statements (rallying cries/solidarity, logistical, security/legal, and purpose). Second, I address the question of why by comparing Twitter activity from the Million Mask March with that of the second campaign, Operation KKK. This comparison illustrates some of the differences between e-mobilization and e-movement tactics. In doing so, I address a gap in social movement research identified by Earl & Kimport (2011). By comparing both an e-mobilization and e-movement campaign of the Anonymous movement, this paper aims to illustrate some of the subtle differences between the two and build a greater understanding of precisely how and to what extent the Internet is impacting social movement activism.