A Social Media Movement — and self-censorship by most mainstream HK media

[updated on April 4, 2015]

Hong Kong police pulled down more web content in last four months than in previous four years: Force insists content is criminal but activists say they are targeting online political organising as rise coincided with Occupy

Hong Kong’s Virtual Districts: How online groups are helping build communities in the real world


This movement is live streamed for the world to see. http://umbrella.appledaily.comhttps://www.facebook.com/socrec?ref=br_tfhttp://new.livestream.com/socreclive/events/3480280

Also live, though not live stream: http://www.scmp.com/topics/occupy-central

Activists have been mobilizing on social media: when to gather for mass rallies, when an occupy site needs more people to hold it, when the police seem to be preparing for new action, when supplies are running low, etc. Social media have significantly facilitated self-organization.

The role of social media in Occupy protests, on the ground and around the world: “At the height of the riot police operation, 12 tweets about Hong Kong were being posted every second as images of protesters engulfed in tear gas spread globally. Days before the street protests began, there were just 19 Hong Kong-related messages being posted per minute.”  http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1628305/role-social-media-occupy-protests-ground-and-around-world

Hongkongers who find news online more likely to support Occupy protests: Hong Kong residents who primarily find their news online and regularly comment on the internet are far more likely to support the city’s ongoing pro-democracy protests, a new survey has found. http://www.scmp.com/article/1649310/hongkongers-who-find-news-online-more-likely-support-occupy-protests-survey

Mobilization on social media (there are far too many to list them all):





http://hkgolden.com (requires registration)

10339564_992616524098612_2385724599168094189_n —-

While social media have facilitated mobilization, they have also presented problems to the movement. First, key sites have been subject to “denial of service” and other forms of attacks. See, e.g., Democracy in Hong Kong Under Attack and Operation Poisoned Handover: Unveiling Ties Between APT Activity in Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy MovementHong Kong democracy activists targeted by Poison Ivy variant


Second, while the use of social media has facilitated rapid mobilization, it has also contributed to the disconnect between organizers and ordinary protestors who defy leaders, thus giving rise to the impression that the movement is spinning out of control. See also unity and leadership.

The Golden Brothers: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119835/hong-kong-golden-website-doing-occupy-protesters-dirty-work

香港,「成也面書,敗也面書」 http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/02-01-2015/20892

Third, rumors spread just as fast as mobilizing messages. The spokesman of Scholarism Agnes Chou was said to withdraw from the movement: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1614772/student-leader-agnes-chow-steps-back-spotlight-citing-exhaustion A day later, it turned out that she just had to take a rest and the resignation was a rumor: 10704106_1544903649080295_2553135144308262605_n


The police are threatening to charge people for inciting illegal activists on social media:  報道指警升格科罪組嚴查網上煽暴 言論可成「意圖犯罪」


Because of this HK movement, Instragam joined the list of banned social media in China. Facebook and Twitter were always censored.

The Revolution Will Not Be Instragrammed http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/09/28/china_hong_kong_protests_instagram_block


The use of social media has helped to overcome the trend of increasing self-censorship by mainstream media. Hong Kong people have been complaining about the erosion of the free press: http://podcast.rthk.hk/podcast/item_epi.php?pid=280&lang=en-US&id=39678

Apple Daily, which has supported the democracy movement, has been subject to DDOS attacks, vandalism, and other forms of intimidation: http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/16/in-city-of-protests-pro-democracy-newspaper-becomes-target/?smid=tw-share

On Jimmy Lai: http://online.wsj.com/articles/hugo-restall-hong-kongs-billionaire-democrat-1412375777 ; http://m.theepochtimes.com/n3/1033702-exclusive-apple-daily-owner-full-of-wonder-at-hong-kongs-pro-democracy-kids/;  http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2014/10/22/a-hong-kong-media-mogul-and-his-protest-tent/

For mainstream media that are against the movement, protestors make a distinction between media bosses and frontline reporters who have also risked police batons, pepper spray and tear gas.


TVB reporters are coming out to condemn the management for censoring the description of the video clip showing police brutality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d25CKRNTlQ&feature=youtu.be and http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/10/15/how_a_video_of_police_brutality_is_dividing_hong_kong

Hong Kong’s Journalists Battle Self-Censorship, Intimidation and Police Violence to Report Umbrella Revolution http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/17/hong-kongs-journalists-battle-self-censorship-intimidation-and-police-violence-to-report-umbrella-revolution/


Meanwhile, the international media have been instrumental in generating international attention. See https://victoriatbhui.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/foreign-forces-at-work-in-hong-kong/


Filed under Umbrella Movement

3 responses to “A Social Media Movement — and self-censorship by most mainstream HK media

  1. Pingback: Protest, counterprotest and the collective action problem | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  2. Pingback: Foreign/external forces at work in Hong Kong? | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  3. Pingback: Not a Christian Movement | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement and Beyond

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