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Wednesday, July 13 • 10:46 - 12:15
Social media as a source of information: an exploratory study of young Libyans’ perceptions of the impact of social media in Libya during the period 2011-2015

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Location: PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - 314, 
Goldsmiths, University of London, Building 2
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  • Sukaina Ehdeed, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom 
  • Jo Bates, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom 
  • Andrew Cox, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom 

As one of the Arab Spring countries, Libya has lived through fast-moving events in which Facebook and other social networking sites have played a major role in delivering news, and shaping peoples’ attitudes towards past and current events and revolutionary change. The proposed research seeks to answer questions about young Libyans’ perception of the impact of social media in Libya in relation to the revolution and post-revolutionary period (2011-2015).


Social media sites such as Facebook played a key role during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ between December 2010 and March 2011 (Yli-Kaitala, 2014; Khondker, 2011; Hussain & Howard, 2013). While much of the research so far has focused upon Egypt and Tunisia, relatively little is known about the extent to which sites such as Facebook played a role in delivering news and shaping attitudes towards the ‘uprising’ in Libya during this period. This study will explore the perspectives of young Libyans aged between 24 and 35 in relation to the revolution and post-revolutionary period (2011-2016). It does so by presenting an overview of the role of social media in Libyan uprising based on a critical thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with young Libyans exploring how social media was used to promote dissent and spread information in the country; and a content analysis of a sample of public Facebook pages focusing on the anniversaries of the uprising from 2012 to 2016 to look for changing content at systematic periods. 


The overall aim of the research is to explore how young Libyans perceive the impact of social media for spreading information and news during the revolutionary and post-revolutionary period 2011-2015 


Data will be collected through semi-structured interviews based on a snowball sample of young people inside Libya (in Tripoli, Benghazi and Sebha city), and within the Libyan diaspora in the UK, followed by content analysis of a sample of public Facebook pages. 


A pilot study encompassing semi-structured interviews with 5 young people from Tripoli and the Libyan diaspora in the UK, and content analysis of the “Libyan intelligence” Facebook page of the first anniversary of Libyan uprising in 2012 will be undertaken in order to explore the general attitudes, test the research design, and modify the research instruments. The findings from the pilot study will be presented. 
Future Work:

Firstly, further reading will also be undertaken to keep developing the theoretical framework in this ongoing PhD research. Secondly, fieldwork will be undertaken and empirical data will be collected to answer the research questions. The data is then prepared for the next phase in which it is analysed and evaluated to extract findings and start the write up of the thesis. 


Hussain, M. M., & Howard, P. N. (2013). What best explains successful protest cascades? ICTs and the fuzzy causes of the Arab Spring. International Studies Review, 15, 48–66. doi:10.1111/misr.12020

Khondker, H. H. (2011). Role of the New Media in the Arab Spring. Globalizations, 8(5), 675– 679. doi:10.1080/14747731.2011.621287

Yli-Kaitala, K. (2014). Revolution 2.0 in Egypt: Pushing for Change, Foreign Influences on a Popular Revolt. Journal of Political Marketing, 13, 127–151. doi:10.1080/15377857.2014.866412 


Wednesday July 13, 2016 10:46 - 12:15 UTC
PSH (Professor Stuart Hall Building) - 314 Goldsmiths University, Building 2