Social media’s exaggerated “revolutionary” role

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Crescent International

Sha'ban 01, 1442 2021-03-15

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

The ongoing battle between Facebook and the mainstream media establishment is continuing due to recent laws passed in Australia forcing Facebook to pay news outlets for content.

Amid this battle, Facebook’s role as a vehicle for change is often greatly exaggerated, especially when it comes to grassroot events in the Muslim world.

Many news programs have assessed the recent groundbreaking law in Australia.

In discussing Facebook’s positive contribution to the wider world, its role during the uprisings which began in 2011 in West Asia is frequently mentioned.

While Facebook was utilized, it was one of many tools used by the oppressed people in West Asia.

When analyzing the tools and tactics of the Islamic Awakening of 2011, Muslim analysts and media outlets tend to quickly adopt the default narratives of Western institutions.

This is primarily because their narrative gets the widest media coverage.

Attributing exaggerated importance to Facebook when it comes to grassroots events in the Muslim world is one of those instances.

Regarding the events of 2011, it should be noted that the vast majority demonstrating against NATO installed dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and to a lesser degree in Bahrain, were rural masses with poor internet connectivity and low-level IT skills.

Facebook played minimal or no role in the rural lifestyle.

People in Tunisia and Egypt bracing Western supplied live ammunition, tear gas and other police brutality tools were most likely influenced to come out on the streets by their local mosques, than Facebook or any other Western tool.

Don’t expect the corporate media to highlight this because it disrupts the West’s narrative.

They push the notion that Muslims of West Asia desire to adopt secularism as their political ideology.

People in the developing world often cannot afford the required gadgets and internet costs for Facebook to become their central means of voicing discontent.

Also, Facebook and other mainstream Western technology organizations have a long track record in assisting Western backed autocratic regimes.

For example, Facebook has a long history of shutting down popular Palestinian pages upon requests of the US and Israeli regimes.

In November 2020, Middle East Eye reported that Facebook took down “alleged Muslim Brotherhood accounts sharing ‘inauthentic’ information.”

While grass roots organizations and movements do use social media to confront Western backed despots in West Asia, indigenous institutions like tribal councils, mosques, churches, religious study groups, religious scholars, Friday prayer sermons and many other native means of social mobilization played and continue to play a far more important role than Facebook or Twitter.

Also, the overall pattern suggests that when Twitter and Facebook are utilized as primary tools to ferment dissent, they are done to advance Western political and economic interests.

For example, in 2009, the US regime asked Twitter to stay up and running by postponing its upgrades in order to keep fanning riots in Iran.

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