Democratizing kompromat: the affordances of social media for state-sponsored harassment

  • Author:
  • Katy E. Pearce
  • Publisher: Information, Communication & Society
  • Date: April 15, 2015
Information, communication and Society Logo

Professor Katy Pearce of the University of Washington recently published her article Democratizing kompromat: the affordances of social media for state-sponsored harassment in the Journal of Information, Communication & Society. Congratulations Katy!


Abstract

This study examines how a traditional tool of authoritarian social control – harassment of the opposition – has evolved with the need for more subtle harassment in the twenty-first-century transnational activism and social media era. Social media affords cheap and easy opportunities for authoritarian regimes, in this case, Azerbaijan, to subtly harass opposition to a large domestic audience, while eschewing direct attribution of the harassment. In this way, despite the challenges that information and communication technologies present authoritarian regimes, they also provide opportunities to increase control.