Digital Activism – A Nonviolent Tool

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Digital activism is usually nonviolent and tends to work best when social media tools are combined with street-level organization, according to new research from the University of Washington. The findings come from Digital Activism Research Project’s report. Founded by Philip Howard, a University of Washington professor of communication, information and international studies, the project applies rigorous empirical social science methods to the study of global digital activism. A year of research and refining brought the total down to between 400 and 500 well-verified cases representing about 150 countries. The research took a particularly focused look at the last two years. Despite what many may think, this study proved that digital activism tends to be nonviolent. “In the news we hear of online activism that involves anonymous or cyberterrorist hackers who cause trouble and break into systems,” Howard said. “But that was 2 or 3 percent of all the cases — far and away, most of the cases are average folks with a modest policy agenda” that doesn’t involve hacking or covert crime. Read more on

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