When Police Hijacked #Blockupy Frankfurt: A Critical Analysis of Activists' Social Media Tactics
Identification of social media practices and tactics reveals two trends: a) an interaction of surveillance and improved social media tactics by authority such as the police; and b) a focus on violence and property damage, mass action, and performativity in protest events to produce publicity on social media. In today’s over-mediated environments, activists use new tactics to report from street protests through social media in combination with mainstream and alternative media. Smartphones have replaced the tent through which information was formerly uploaded onto the IndyMedia alternative media platform, and activists risk becoming subject to surveillance. On social media, images of riots, peaceful protests, artistic action, as well as police and news media struggle for public visibility in today’s saturated media environments. In the Blockupy Frankfurt action, police became the dominant actor in this struggle by hijacking the protest hashtag and tactically using images of riots to produce a positive image.