NTC Fighters Claim Bani Walid

Social Media’s Impact on Rebel Diplomacy

Popular social media websites such as Twitter have been a useful resource for rebel groups. Because these groups may not have the material resources necessary to compete with the government, social media presents an opportunity for them to portray an image to the rest of the world.

Benjamin T. Jones and Eleonora Mattiacci look at this trend in their article “A Manifesto, in 140 Characters or Fewer: Social Media as a Tool of Rebel Diplomacy” in the British Journal of Political Science. By studying the use of social media by rebel groups during the Libyan civil war, they found that “rebel public diplomacy via Twitter increases co-operation with the rebels when their message (1) clarifies the regime they intend to create and (2) emphasizes the atrocities perpetrated by the government.”

The full article is available for purchase here.

Photo by Magharebia | CC BY 2.0

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