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Study Finds Digital Activism Is Effective, Mostly Non-Violent 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-sign-some-petitions dept.
vinces99 writes "Digital activism is usually nonviolent and tends to work best when social media tools are combined with street-level organization, according to new research from the University of Washington. The findings come from a report by the Digital Activism Research Project run by Philip Howard, a UW professor of communication, information and international studies. 'This is the largest investigation of digital activism ever undertaken,' Howard said. 'We looked at just under 2,000 cases over a 20-year period, with a very focused look at the last two years.' He and his coauthors oversaw 40 student analysts who reviewed news stories by citizen and professional journalists describing digital activism campaigns worldwide. A year of research and refining brought the total down to 400 to 500 well-verified cases representing about 150 countries. The research took a particularly focused look at the last two years. Howard said one of their main findings is that digital activism tends to be nonviolent, despite what many may think. 'In the news we hear of online activism that involves anonymous or cyberterrorist hackers who cause trouble and break into systems. But that was 2 or 3 percent of all the cases — far and away, most of the cases are average folks with a modest policy agenda' that doesn't involve hacking or covert crime."
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Study Finds Digital Activism Is Effective, Mostly Non-Violent

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  • DDOSing a website isn't really violent either. In spite of the libertarian perspective on the matter, property doesn't intrinsically require protection.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In spite of the libertarian perspective on the matter, property doesn't intrinsically require protection.

      I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you for sharing this insight.
      And on a totally unrelated note, can I borrow your wallet for a second? ... What? ... Oh, no reason.

      • No, you misunderstand. The harm to people that a deprivation of property represents can represent a serious harm, just not an innate one, that's equal for all people. I just disagree with using property as the intellectual "stopping point" for the exercise of understanding crime, not that it's done at all.

    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday November 22, 2013 @04:53PM (#45494835) Homepage Journal

      property doesn't intrinsically require protection.

      So, your house doesn't have a lock on the door?

      Cool; what was your address again?

      • I never lock my doors and never lock my car either. A friend of mine used to leave his keys in his ignition and his car has only been stolen once, and then recovered later the same day up the road undamaged. Don't let fear rule your life, I've never met a crim that ever got deterred by a locked door.
        • I never lock my doors and never lock my car either. A friend of mine used to leave his keys in his ignition and his car has only been stolen once

          You do realize this anecdote about your "friend" (as well as your admission to having locks on your doors) actually supports my argument, don't you?

          Side note: Your "friend" is lucky - if the cops had wanted to, they could have claimed the person who stole it was wanted on drug charges. That would have allowed them to impound the car, shred the interior, and charge your "friend" for storage and labor.

          Further proving my point.

          • >

            Side note: Your "friend" is lucky - if the cops had wanted to, they could have claimed the person who stole it was wanted on drug charges. That would have allowed them to impound the car, shred the interior, and charge your "friend" for storage and labor.

            Further proving my point.

            Not in my country they can't. Sucks to be you eh?

            • by femtobyte (710429)

              Mod parent up. Problems with police state brutality aren't solved by becoming more terrorized by the mythology of lurking badguys around every corner, who will rob you blind if you don't have big enough locks and guns. If the police are a threat to your property, you don't need bigger locks to keep joyriders out --- you need to stop being so terrified of "teh badguys" that you allow police to waltz around stealing your stuff.

            • >

              Side note: Your "friend" is lucky - if the cops had wanted to, they could have claimed the person who stole it was wanted on drug charges. That would have allowed them to impound the car, shred the interior, and charge your "friend" for storage and labor.

              Further proving my point.

              Not in my country they can't. Sucks to be you eh?

              It might be if I were stupid enough to leave my car unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

      • Sometimes I forget that the adjectives and adverbs I put in front of words tend to get dropped when people parse out the meaning of what I said, but the "intrinsically" is really really really crucial to my point. People can be harmed by the loss of their property, but the property itself isn't important in that, just the harm done.

        • I know what intrinsically means, asshat.

          The fact that people steal negates your entire premise, adjectives notwithstanding. You said nothing about harm in your first post, and honestly that's a downright pathetic attempt to move the goalposts. You said, "property doesn't intrinsically require protection," which is a false statement. Man up and own your mistake, instead of acting as a selfish child and attacking everyone who points out your folly.

          • I don't think there was a mistake in my reasoning. You didn't point out something I'd never reflected on before. What you just said was obvious to you, right? Why are you assuming it's not obvious to me.

            My position is simply that treating property as fundamentally important is a mental short-circuit that can avoid answering difficult but relevant questions sometimes.

            I'm not calling for the end of property law in general.

            • I don't think there was a mistake in my reasoning. You didn't point out something I'd never reflected on before. What you just said was obvious to you, right? Why are you assuming it's not obvious to me.

              My position is simply that treating property as fundamentally important is a mental short-circuit that can avoid answering difficult but relevant questions sometimes.

              Damn but those goalposts are hard to hit when they keep dancing around like that.

              I'm not calling for the end of property law in general.

              Ah, a communist. Well, I'll respect your right to have that opinion, and you're welcome to surrender all your property to the collective. In exchange, I expect you to respect mine, and leave me and the shit I worked for and own the hell alone. Otherwise, you're going to have a fight on your hands.

              • Damn but those goalposts are hard to hit when they keep dancing around like that.

                If that's your position then you clearly fucking lied when you said you knew what "intrinsically" means. Congrats on lying.

                • Yea, because the other possibility is that you're not nearly as clever as you think you are, and that just can't be the case, now can it?

                  That elephantine chip on your shoulder is causing your judgement to list, I think.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)

      It may be non-violent, but is it effective?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In Canada we don't resort to DDOS or other related activities. We have proven digital activism including social media, email, and petitions can change legislation introduced in parliament. The recent change by the "Big Three" wireless carriers now offering two-year contracts instead of only three-year contracts and month-to-month terms was the result of digital activism. The pending transition from forced channel bundles to true a la carte channel selection is another example of successful non-violent, non-

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So a group of digital activists either commissioned or performed a study that demonstrated that digital activism was effective? I'm shocked--shocked!

  • "we hear of online activism that involves anonymous or cyberterrorist hackers " Do we? The activism I hear of mostly is people on Facebook trying to get sympathy for a certain cause only to be followed by a few supporting comments then promptly forgotten about. It's why the term slacktivism was coined. Millions of people all happy to be angry in front of a keyboard but too lazy to do more than think bad thoughts.
  • I read that as
    Study Finds Digital Activation Is Effective, Mostly Non-Violent.

    I think we need to oppose it more violently
    I need more sleep

  • How do you define 'best'.
    Aren't the USA's average joe & jane in a let's say a rather shitty predicament?
    If you don't see that -- that's what I mean when I raise the question.
    Could it be that the 'terrorism' has been institutionalized?

  • Sadly, many of these activists don't do their homework and are living proof of the 90%-bullsh*t Rule of the Internet.

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