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Social Media and Human Rights


Christian Fuchs, 'OccupyMedia!', 2nd February 2015, 1pm

Christian Fuchs

Keynote Speaker, R(w)SM Reading Group, February 2nd, 2015, 1-2:30, Seminar Room, Sociology, Free School Lane

Presentation overview

OccupyMedia! Social Media in Times of Capitalist Crisis and Political Change

This presentation reports the findings of the OccupyMedia! Survey that
were recently published in the book “OccupyMedia! The Occupy Movement
and Social Media in Crisis Capitalism” (Zero Books 2014).

Social movement media research is often too celebratory because scholars
conducting such studies are often deeply impressed by and have
sympathies for or are part of the movements they study. This is as such
no problem, political sympathy should however not cloud the ability to
conduct a structural analysis of the limits that social movements and
social movement media face within capitalism.

The conducted study is different from celebratory social movement media
studies in that it aimed at identifying the contradictions that social
movements such as Occupy face in capitalism and a world of crisis when
using the media for political information, communication and mobilization.
The OccupyMedia! Book and this presentation report results from a survey
of N=480 Occupy activists’ media use. It shows that activists are in
capitalism confronted with a contradiction of for-profit/commercial and
non-profit/non-commercial (traditional, digital and social) media, a
contradiction between voluntariness and vulnerability of social
media-donation models, a contradiction between state-funded stability
and control of alternative media, a contradiction between for-profit
organisation and loss of autonomy, a contradiction between the stability
of paid media activism and the logic of bureaucratisation and

The survey points out the difficulty of using and organising media in
capitalism . It suggests that media reforms that advance support for
critical media are urgently needed.


Christian Fuchs is professor at the University of Westminster's
Communication and Media Research Institute and Director of the Centre
for Social Media Research. He is editor of the journal tripleC:
Communication, Capitalism and Critique ( and
author of books such as Culture and Economy in the Age of Social Media
(2015), OccupyMedia! The Occupy Movement and Social Media in Crisis
Captialism (2014), Digital Labour and Karl Marx (2014), Social Media: A
Critical Introduction (2014), Foundations of Critical Media and
Information Studies (2011), Internet and Society (2008).


About this website

This is the website for Ella McPherson's work related to her 2014-17 ESRC-funded research project, Social Media, Human Rights NGOs, and the Potential for Governmental Accountability.