How Social Media Helps Dictators

Erica Chenoweth in Foreign Policy:

Yet in spite of this optimism, what is sometimes known as “liberation technology” is not, in fact, making pro-democracy movements more effective. It’s true that we’ve seen more episodes of mass mobilization since the rise of digital communications than we did before. But we should note that the stunning rise of nonviolent resistance came long before the Internet. The technique has enjoyed widespread use since Gandhi popularized the method in the 1930s and 1940s. And in fact, nonviolent resistance has actually become less successful compared to earlier, pre-internet times. Whereas nearly 70 percent of civil resistance campaigns succeeded during the 1990s, only 30 percent have succeeded since 2010.Whereas nearly 70 percent of civil resistance campaigns succeeded during the 1990s, only 30 percent have succeeded since 2010. Why might this be?

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