Lev-On, Azi. (2020). The igniter and the megaphone: Perceiving Facebook’s role in activism. Convergence, 26(3), 577–592.
The study examines perceptions of the significance and roles of new and mainstream media in protests, using interviews with 31 individuals involved in the 2011 protests in Israel: Activists and Campaigners, who organized the protests ‘on the ground’; Techies, who operated the digital presence of the protests; and Journalists, who covered the protests. Findings indicate that the perceptions of media’s significance and roles varied greatly. While Techies attributed a significant role to the Internet, Activists and Journalists placed greater emphasis on the enduring dominance of mainstream media. In addition, interviewees argued that the Internet, particularly Facebook, has a greater added value in supporting protests associated with peripheral than central regions. Finally, most interviewees argued that the Internet, particularly Facebook, was highly significant to the success of the protest in its early stages, but mainstream media coverage is necessary for achieving wider public recognition and legitimacy in subsequent stages.