User-Generated Warfare: A Case of Converging Wartime Information Networks and Coproductive Regulation on YouTube

Brittany Fiore-Silfvast


User-generated content-sharing (UGC) platforms, such as YouTube, emerged as venues for competing wartime information and images among military, insurgent, and civilian user groups during the Iraq War. This article introduces user-generated warfare (UGW) as a theoretical concept to articulate this phenomenon and consider its implications for reshaping wartime information networks and flows outside of formal institutions. It is a variant of “netwar” that further locates this generative user activity within the sociotechnical infrastructure of the UGC platform. The present analysis examines an instance of UGW that highlights how user agency is configured through the coproduction of affordance and constraint via the YouTube platform and within a communicative context in which wartime user networks are converging outside formal channels.

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