Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Social media plays an instrumental role in enabling and facilitating social movements. However, this role depends on the complex social issues in a civic community and dynamics of power in movement politics. Existing literature provides little insight into the formative role of social media in social movements; instead, it tends to focus on the informational role and episodic effect of social media in community activism. We present the case of Bersih, a social media-enabled social movement that pushed for electoral reform in Malaysia. The non-partisan community-driven movement exerted public pressure on institutions and gained formal recognition. In this study, we reveal the significant role social media plays in empowering citizens by enabling them to facilitate and coordinate collective action towards producing change in their community. This research is significant in articulating the precise nature of the role of ICT in addressing complex social problems.