Dizin Eklenmedi

How Facebook Facilitated the Jasmine Revolution. Conceptualizing the Functions of Online Social Network Communication

Received: 18 Sep 2013 Accepted: 24 Feb 2014 Published: 30 Mar 2014



This paper investigates the role that the social network platform Facebook played during the so-called Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia at the end of 2010, leading to the toppling of the Tunisian dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali one month later. While in the past, the control of traditional mass media was a major factor for corrupt regimes to maintain their power, the Tunisian case is the first example in the Middle East of a successful revolution brought about by circumventing traditional mass media, transforming an online social media platform originally designed for private communication into a political communication tool. While the Tunisian mass media as well as most Internet sites were tightly controlled and censored by the Ben Ali regime, control over the social network site Facebook proved to be futile. The paper analyzes the case of the Jasmine revolution in order to explain the specific role that social network communication played in the sequence of political events. For this case study, a five-dimensional typology was developed to analyze the various functions the social network platform performed. A further aim of the study is to provide a first typological model of social media functions to be tested in future comparative studies of political and media systems in transition.

Keywords: Facebook, Arab Spring uprisings, Tunisia, functions of social media, political transition

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