This research explores how citizens from authoritarian countries can take advantage of social media to increase their participation in democracy. More specifically, this paper examines the role of social media in increasing citizens’ possibilities to access, create, and comment on socio-political information. We propose a framework that centers around the notion of IT materiality (i.e., the technology identifiable features and rules of service) as a basis for understanding the influence of social media on the possibilities of citizens in authoritarian regimes to participate in public discourse. The framework, which is based on preliminary results obtained from a case study, suggests that examining social media materiality from three different perspectives (i.e., the citizens, the government, and the technology designers) is a suitable way to theorize citizens’ social media-enabled participation in public discourse. The concept of IT affordances is chosen as a non-deterministic lens to theorize the importance of IT materiality.
Rico, Jobany and Cousins, Karlene, "Social Media and Democracy: A Materiality Lens" (2022). PACIS 2022 Proceedings. 331.
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