Social media may liberate citizens in societies with stringent media controls and accelerate political democratization. Yet, little is known about the relation between social media use and perceived constraints in a semi-authoritarian system. This study draws on Media System Dependency theory to examine this relation in the context of the 2011 Singapore General Election. Our findings, based on national survey data, suggest that perceived control of traditional media and political activity is positively related to content production on social media as well as the visits to opposition party websites and Facebook pages. Additionally, perceived control of mass media is associated with increased consumption of political content on social media. Perceived control of the Internet reduces rather than increases content production on social media. We argue that social media alters the balance of dependency relationships between the government, media organizations and citizens. They create new, meso level networked avenues for information gathering and participation during the elections.
Skoric, Marko M.; Ji, Pan; and Poor, Nathaniel, "Liberating Technologies? Perceptions of Government Control and Citizens’ Use of Social Media during the Elections" (2012). BLED 2012 Proceedings. 35.