Social Media and Protest Behavior in a Restrictive Traditional Media Environment: The Case of the Philippines

Jason P. Abbott, Jason Gainous, Kevin M. Wagner


Survey research focused on the effects of social media (SM) on protest behavior outside Western democracies is limited. In response, we designed and conducted a large N face-to-face survey in the Philippines, where pro-government elite families control the traditional press, but the same constraints do not apply to SM. This helps us to isolate SM effects on protest behavior since the online environment in the Philippines is one of the few places where there is an open flow of information. Adding gradations to common indicators of SM consumption (by measuring general SM use, political SM use, and the exchange and consumption of dissident information on SM) helps clarify the mechanism by which SM influence protest behavior. Our results indicate that online exchanges of dissident information have a stronger connection to protest behavior than general or even political SM use.



social media, political protest, dissident information, traditional media, Philippines

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