Social Media Control and Christian Churches in Burkina Faso

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Louis AUDET GOSSELIN, Centre d'expertise et de formation sur les int├ęgrismes religieux et la radicalisation, Canada
In recent years, Burkina Faso has experienced a significant growth in the use of social media platforms. This trend has touched religious organisations in particular, with Christian Churches, both Evangelical and Catholic, increasingly turning to Facebook and other platforms to convey their messages. However, despite this growing presence and a larger democratization context marked by the ousting of President Blaise Compaoré in 2014 and a subsequent liberation of public speech in the country, Christian social media have remained remarkably consensual and uniform. This uniformity is seen in the constant circulation of the same content and an almost complete absence of contradictory debate. This presentation analyses the main social media publications from Christian Churches and associations in recent years in Burkina Faso and shows how a limited number of key actors, or gatekeepers, control the quasi totality of the Christian social media presence. It will also show how this situation gives rise to the creation of virtual sectarian practices where radical content flows without contradiction.