"All of My Business": Governmental Social Media and Authoritarian Responsiveness

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Date

2017

Authors

Liu, Chuan

Advisors

Malesky, Edmund

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Abstract

How would authoritarian regimes react to the emergence of social media compared to traditional media? What role(s) would media play in authoritarianism? This study focuses on China, the largest existing authoritarian regime, to answer the questions above. A formal model first indicates that entering the era of social media would be a challenge for dictators if they still regard social media as a tool for propaganda as traditional media; instead, they would choose other strategies in response to the challenge. The content analysis between Weibo (Chinese Twitter) and People's Daily in China confirms that traditional media and social media serve as different tools: The former are still tools for propaganda, whereas the latter show more responsiveness, especially about the public's daily life, even though this is none of the government's business. This results may indicate a new way by which authoritarian regimes maintain the rule making use of media.

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Citation

Liu, Chuan (2017). "All of My Business": Governmental Social Media and Authoritarian Responsiveness. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/15292.

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