After Mass Protests In Russia, Is The Kremlin Using Facebook To Ease The Pressure?

The concept of “slacktivism,” where physical protests can be diminished by ineffectual activity online, and the relationship between online rhetoric and street-level political activism is still poorly understood. (In Arab Spring protests, for example, research has shown that social-networking sites could both push people out onto the streets and keep them at home.)

But for a regime under pressure, addressing some of your key constituents (many of them middle-class and tech-savvy) on one of their key platforms, Facebook, and allowing them to vent seems to be a savvy way of tweaking the release valves. It presents the impression at least that the Russian authorities are listening to the people’s concerns. The Kremlin has always been as concerned with narrative-shaping as it has been with crude censorship.

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