Title

SOCIAL MEDIA AND GOVERNMENT CONTROL: A COMPUTERIZATION MOVEMENTS ANALYSIS AFTER THE NORTH AFRICAN UPRISINGS OF 2011

Abstract

A computerization movement analysis sees technology adoption as a social movement, driven by utopian visions of what technology can do, rather than simply as a process of matching technology features to economic need (e.g., Elliott and Kraemer, 2008). Promoting a specific technological use, or building resistance to one, is a social process shaped by public discourse and existing interpretations of how a technology should be used. In this research-in-progress paper, we use the computerization movement concept to analyze the international adoption of social media, particularly with respect to government attempts to monitor and control citizen behavior. After the North African uprisings of early 2011, utopian visions of social media promoting democracy and free expression were contested by accounts, from the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, of the ability of national governments to control internet behavior and social media, and the willingness of certain technology companies to aid governments in this process. Our analysis argues that the framing of the government control issue can play a significant role in explaining social media adoption internationally.

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