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Digital Activism: How to Be a Digital Citizen and Fight for What You Believe In

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Welcome to your guide to digital activism! You’re probably here because you want to learn how to get the most out of your time spent on social media, but more importantly, you want to do it for a good cause. If that sounds like you, then stay tuned, and I’ll be showing you some great tools and tricks for making change happen from behind a screen.

Hello to all my fellow activists and students! I’m here to guide you on how best to take advantage of the digital age for activism. Social media is an incredible tool that can be used to spread messages and raise awareness.

There are so many ways social media can be useful in your activism, but it is important not just to post things without thinking about what message you want people who read them to take away from your posts.

digital activism examples

The world is in your hands. You can be an activist; you need to know-how. The internet has made activism easier and more accessible than ever before: it’s as easy as typing a few words into Google or Facebook to find out what issues are happening around the world you care about and want to get involved with.

There are many ways you can make a difference by getting active online, including signing petitions, donating money, tweeting at politicians, boycotting products/companies, or even running for office! This blog post will provide tips on acting against injustice through social media channels like Twitter and YouTube. Whether it’s raising awareness of human rights abuses in other countries or supporting LGBTQ youth here at home, there is no shortage.

How to get involved with digital activism

-Find your voice by speaking up about something you care about

-Organize events online like petitions or campaigns

-Learn how to use email lists efficiently to spread information from one person to many people at once

-Watch videos on YouTube that show different activist perspectives and get inspired!

Activists all over the world are using technology to better their communities.

Black Lives Matter has been using social media and a blog to organize protests in response to police violence against African Americans, while on the other side of the coin, supporters of white nationalist groups such as The National Policy Institute have been using chat apps like Discord and Slack to coordinate online.

I bet you never thought that posting on Facebook could make so much difference in people’s lives. Social media has made it easier than ever before for activists worldwide to organize protest groups, share information about injustices happening around them, and mobilize their communities towards achieving common goals. When we communicate online, we can each other in a way where it would not be possible in the real world.

There are many ways to do this, but we’ll go over some of the most popular and easy methods today. We’ll start with your own blog, which is an excellent way to get your voice heard creatively.

If you don’t want to start your own blog, there are plenty of websites out there where you can post articles or make videos that share information about social justice issues around the world. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter also provide great platforms for activists to have their voices heard! They allow users to create profiles and post content on behalf of themselves or their organizations, so make sure not to miss these.

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Digital activism examples

As a result of the digital activism from Snowden, Brazilians were able to work to eliminate internet piracy legislation. They organized online protests and had petitions that garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures for an anti-piracy law. This led to the Brazilian senate voting against the proposals for internet censorship and the installation of data retention obligations.

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The success of this digital activism was not without its restrictions, however. There was a speed bump in communications at one point, and there was also some violence surrounding the event. The Brazilian government no longer requires browser plugins or logins for open access to “torrent” sites which is seen as an improvement, but they’re also putting up blocks on message boards.

They require real names and national identification numbers used for billing purposes to comment on the proposed laws. This requires more information than just an email address, so it’s seen as a limitation of free speech on the internet, and there is backlash about that. The new legislation also mandates that website owners have to store data for six months in case of copyright claims against them, which is another larger issue.

Digital activism: What countries are deploying censorship

Nicaragua, France, Iceland, Switzerland, Kenya, and India

These countries are all putting up blocks on messaging boards or are shutting down websites altogether with no process for due diligence. [See “It’s Not OK” by Access Now] (http://www.itimenz.com/digital-human-rights/our-work/publications/)

Yemen, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan

These countries are requiring internet users to be registered to access certain sites. [See “It’s Not OK” by Access Now] (http://www.itimenz.com/digital-human-rights/our-work/publi cations/)

China, Vietnam, Iran, and Burma

These countries already have a process for due diligence. Still, they’re blocking websites completely if their content goes against political party policies, which means any speech criticizing the government is censored.[See “It’s Not OK” by Access Now] (http://www.itimenz.com/digital-human-rights/our-work/publications/)

While the internet has been a tool for freedom of speech, it remains a dangerous place for dissidents. In Iran and Uzbekistan, independent press and citizen journalism on blogs have been specifically targeted by government censors who want to end them because they allow people to express their opinions freely. In other countries like Bahrain and China, bloggers are arrested or subjected to torture based on writing online.

[See Global Voices Online (http://globalvoicesonline.org]) In Burma, mobile phone text messages that contain information about violence against protesters can be used as evidence against violators of martial law [See The Burma Project] (http://www.burmaproject.org/new-reports/news-detail/2341/).

There are many cases of online censorship in the United States as well. In 2007, the New York Times was blocked from viewing a video clip on YouTube which contained graphic violence after an interviewee spoke publically about torture by US troops.

[See “Iraq War Videos Blocked From YouTube” by CNN] (http://edition.cnn.com/2007/TECH/07/12/youtube.graphic/)

When videoblogger Josh Wolf refused to give up his source footage for a story involving a protestor who set fire to himself,[See “Government May Force Videoblogger Josh Wolf to Reveal Identity of Source” by CNET News] (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10092105-38.html), he was imprisoned for 165 days.

[See “Josh Wolf Speaks Out on His Six Months in Solitary Confinement, Blogging and Building a Better World”] (http://joshwolfvideos.blogspot.com/)

Other bloggers have had their accounts suspended after complaints from the public or law enforcement officials who want to censor the content they publish online

[See “WordPress Suspends Cardinalexile’s Account” by WordPress Support] (https://wordpress.org/support/topic/takedown-notice?replies=7#post-685897)) without due process.

In the United States, a recent survey found that Internet censorship is alive and well. A study by the company Terra Lycos [http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=35262] (http://www.astound-us.com/surveys/view_pollresults/) showed that 64% of Internet users had been censored online within the last year and 71% reported seeing negative comments about themselves on blogs or forums.

[See “Internet Censorship Survey Shows 70 Percent Of Users Have Seen Their Personal Information Posted Online And 10 Percent Had Digital Files Stolen” by TMCnet] (http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/-internet-censorship-survey-shows-70-percent-of-us.htm)

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Here are some other examples of online censorship in the United States:

* In 2008, the popular children’s website Digg was allegedly banned for several hours after users posted links to a video showing US Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters.[See “Permanent Damages┦ Yes Virginia, There Is Censorship On The Internet” by Techdirt] (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080311/06192615932.shtml)

* Google removed Blogger accounts accused of copyright infringement without allowing owners to present evidence to support their cases.[See “Google Removes Blogs Accused Of Copyright Violations Without Showing Proof” by The Register] (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/11/blogger_copyright/)

* [See “Politics Disrupted: Anti-War Activist Group Gets Censored By Google, Yahoo! Video Search Systems”] (http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/04/) (September 4, 2008) and “Google Removes Video of Protester Being Pepper Sprayed in Face at University of California from YouTube” by Techdirt (http://techdirt.com/articles/20080907/17581921873.shtml) and “Google Seeks to Remove Anti-War Video from YouTube” by The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/06/technology/internet/06censor.html) “YouTube, Google Accused of Censorship” by ZDNet] (http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/-google-youtube-accused -of-censorship–2100643183.htm) and “First Amendment Lawyers Question Potential Political Censorship on Google Video Search System” by Lawyer Herald (http://lawyerherald.blogspot .com /2008 /09/)

* A federal appeals court [See Schwimmer v Recording Industry Association of America, Inc.] (https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/292/292.F3d.858-15950.html) ruled that Google could be held liable for encouraging copyright violations when it automatically links to websites with copyrighted materials.[See “Google Can Be Held Liable For Encouraging Copyright Violations, Court Rules” by PC World] (http://www.pcworld .com /article/123153 /google_can_be _held_liable _for_encouraging _copyright_violations _court_rules/)

* In 2007, YouTube removed a video presentation of presidential candidate Ron Paul after his supporters posted numerous videos on the popular site.[See “YouTube Pulls Ron Paul Campaign Video” by The Register] (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/27 /ron_paul_video/)

* In 2007, YouTube removed a video of the proceedings during a US House Judiciary Committee hearing on Internet censorship after politicians complained that it contained copyrighted content.[See “Congress Censors YouTube for Carrying Copyrighted Material” by Techdirt] (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070906/16521364305 .shtml)

* A website that posted information about Guantanamo Bay prisoners was forced to remove all references to specific prisoners under threat of legal action.[See “Web Site Dropped ‘Gitmo Data’ After Receiving Warning Letter From Justice Department” by Techdirt] (http://www.techdirt.com/articles /20070615/13400698408.HTML)

* In February 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union [See “ACLU v Gonzales”] (https://bulk.resource .org/courts.gov/c/08-7285/) filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense, claiming that it was investigating soldiers who were critical of President Bush on their personal blogs.[See “Army Is Investigating Blogs Critical Of Bush; ACLU Asks Court for Records” by The Register and “US Military Tries to Force Amazon To Hand Over IP Addresses of Critical Bloggers” by Techdirt] (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/09 /amazon_investigation/)

* [See “Google, Getty continue to censor bloggers; Weblog providers say they have no choice but to shut down free speech or face ruinous fines”] (https://firstamendmentcoalition .wordpress.com/2008/09/) September 10, 2008) See also “Google: Censorship or Legitimate Use of Intellectual Property Rights?” by the American Civil Liberties Union] (https://bulk. resource .org/courts.gov /c/08-1582/) In this case, a person who posted photos of artwork on his blog was forced to remove them under threat of lawsuits from the copyright holder. The ACLU argued that Google’s policy of automatically removing content when notified by a copyright holder amounts to censorship in violation of the First Amendment.

Conclusion

It’s been a long day, and you’re tired. You have one more task to complete before going to bed: emailing your representatives. With the click of a button, you type out your thoughts on gun control and the environment in an articulate manner and send it off to Congress. This makes you feel like you were doing something proactive and that tomorrow will be better for both people and Earth because of what you said today.

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