University of Iowa: Rare Recordings of Civil Rights Activists Available Now. “In 1963 and 1964, attorney Bob Zellner recorded a series of interviews with civil rights activists in Mississippi and Alabama. Zellner conducted the interviews on behalf of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in an effort to document the activists’ experiences, which were often under challenging and violent circumstances. The interviewees participated in the Mississippi Summer Project in 1964, later to be known as Freedom Summer, a drive to register African Americans in the Magnolia State to vote. For decades, attempts by blacks to register at county court houses across the state were met with intimidation, harassment, and even violence. Freedom Summer was an organized response to this situation, with activists from across the U.S. participating, including over 800 college and university students. Among them were about a dozen students from the University of Iowa.”
University of Hawai’i at Manoa: From Facebook to the Streets: Russian Troll Ads and Black Lives Matter Protests. “Online trolling is typically studied in the IS literature as an uncoordinated, anarchic activity. Coordinated, strategic online trolling is not well understood despite its prevalence on social media. To shed light on this prevailing activity, the present study examines the proposition that coordinated online trolling is timed to leverage macro societal unrest. In testing this proposition, we analyzes the dynamics of the Russian State’s coordinated trolling campaign against the United States beginning in 2015. Using the May 2018 release of all Russian Troll Facebook advertisements, this study constructs a topic model of the content of these ads. The relationship between ad topics and the frequency of Black Lives Matter protests is examined. We argue that the frequency of Black Lives Matter protests proxies for civil unrest and divisiveness in the United States. The study finds that Russian ads related to police brutality were issued to coincide with periods of higher unrest. This work also finds that during periods of relative calm (evidenced by lower frequency of protests) Russian ads were relatively innocuous.” The entire paper is available as a PDF.
New Delhi Times: Zimbabwe Activists Push Back on Social Media Restrictions. “In Zimbabwe, rights and opposition groups are surviving by using social media to communicate with the masses as state-owned media remain reserved for ruling party officials. During recent anti-government protests, the public received information through social media and now the government wants a law to block such platforms.”
National Post: Activists in Paris protest against Google’s tax setup. “Activists from an anti-globalization group have staged a protest at Google’s Paris headquarters to criticize the company for paying little tax. Attac members gathered at Google’s offices Thursday and set up a pulley to pass bags of fake money between the firm’s premises and a public finance centre across the street.”
Euronews: Futuris: archiving popular dissent against communism. “A new European research project is working to preserve historical material related to cultural resistance from the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. But how are they achieving that?”
TechCrunch: Facebook launches petition feature, its next battlefield . “Gather a mob and Facebook will now let you make political demands. Tomorrow [Monday, January 21] Facebook will encounter a slew of fresh complexities with the launch of Community Actions, its News Feed petition feature. Community Actions could unite neighbors to request change from their local and national elected officials and government agencies. But it could also provide vocal interest groups a bully pulpit from which to pressure politicians and bureaucrats with their fringe agendas.”
Slate: Practice Hacktivism at Your Own Risk. “People launch cyberattacks for all sorts of different reasons—to steal money, to steal secrets, to show off their skills, to wreak havoc, but also for (what they consider to be) altruistic reasons. Martin Gottesfeld did it to draw attention to the case of Justina Pelletier, a Connecticut teenager who was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital in 2013 and kept in a psychiatric ward there, against her parents’ wishes, for more than a year. Pelletier was ultimately returned to her family, but before that, Gottesfeld launched distributed denial-of-service attacks on two Massachusetts medical facilities involved in Pelletier’s care.”