Student Participation and Public Facebook Communication: Exploring the Demand and Supply of Political Information in the Romanian #rezist Demonstrations
In 2017, the anticorruption #rezist protests engulfed Romania. In the context of mounting concerns about exposure to and engagement with political information on social media, we examine the use of public Facebook event pages during the #rezist protests. First, we consider the degree to which political information influenced the participation of students, a key protest demographic. Second, we explore whether political information was available on the pages associated with the protests. Third, we investigate the structure of the social network established with those pages to understand its diffusion within that public domain. We find evidence that political information was a prominent component of public, albeit localized, activist communication on Facebook, with students more likely to partake in demonstrations if they followed a page. These results lend themselves to an evidence-based deliberation about the relation that individual demand and supply of political information on social media have with protest participation.