#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar: The Evolution of the Digital Fight Against Authoritarian State Repression

Tuwanont Phattharathanasut


This study examines #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and attempts to understand the practice of hashtags in the struggle against digital repression. By using descriptive analysis methods and qualitative content analysis, this study argues that #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar is categorized into 4 distinct narrative forms: Grievance expression, information dissemination, attracting support, and mobilization. Each narrative fulfills different functions within the context of the struggle against digital repression. Grievance expression challenges social manipulation and disinformation. Information dissemination tackles censorship and social manipulation/disinformation. Attracting support helps keep the conversation about Myanmar active on social media even when the Internet is shut down. Finally, the mobilization narrative helps protect protesters and online users from state surveillance and persecution. Through analyzing the hashtag narrative, this study offers resourceful findings on how activists have used social media against digital repression and on the evolution of resistance to struggle against new types of state repression.


Myanmar, activism, digital repression, social movement, #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar

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