Social Media and Human Rights – a Contradiction in Itself?

The American online social media company Facebook has been a blessing for human rights – most apparently for freedom of speech. Social media can increase the effectiveness of public assemblies, demonstrations or non-mainstream political movements. However, there exist also dark sides to social media.

Facebook, with more than 2.2 billion active users, has had a bad few weeks – or even years. Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, the co-founder, and leader of Facebook had to apologize for failing to protect the personal data of millions of users. On the strength of this, millions of users deleted their accounts in disgust.

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The Handmaid’s Tale-Inspired Protests

Mass media might be enormously persuasive, but people’s principal main way to engage with mass media is passive receptive. According to Leah A. Lievrouw (2011), exposure to or reception of a message might or might not provoke a receiver to act. 

Pro-choice supporters at a Rosa rally in Londonderry, Northern Ireland

One recent message that has made a powerful impact is The Handmaid’s Tale, which has inspired protests because it does not merely contribute content to a demonstration, it has become a symbol of resistance. People all over the world are wearing red cloaks and white bonnets to protest various injustices, particularly regarding women’s rights. 

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