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2012 AAAS Meeting

Highlights from the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Vancouver, February 16-20

3:07pm, February 18, 2012

Social media didn’t spur Arab Spring
The protests and uprisings that began in December 2010 collectively known as the Arab Spring were characterized as Twitter and Facebook revolutions, but new research suggests that social media platforms had a mixed effect in driving political change. An analysis of 10 months of news, information and social media use in 18 Arab Spring countries found that the number of Facebook users did swell during that time. But the pattern of increased use of social media didn’t cleanly match up with the pattern of protests. Social media sites told people where to find information, not to revolt, Kathleen Carley of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh reported February 18. Concerns over human rights and international relations issues such as troop movements were more predictive of who protested where, and when. — Rachel Ehrenberg

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