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"Narcotweets": Social Media in Wartime

Andres Monroy-Hernandez, Emre Kıcıman, danah boyd, and Scott Counts


This paper describes how people living in armed-conflict environments use social media as a participatory news platform, in lieu of damaged state and media apparatuses. We investigate this by analyzing the microblogging practices of Mexican citizens whose everyday life is affected by the Drug War. We provide a descriptive analysis of the phenomenon, combining content and quantitative Twitter data analyses. We focus on three interrelated phenomena: general participation patterns of ordinary citizens, the emergence and role of information curators, and the tension between governmental regulation and drug cartel intimidation. This study reveals the complex tensions among citizens, media actors, and the government in light of large-scale organized crime.


Publication typeInproceedings
Published inThe 6th Intl. Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM)
PublisherAmerican Association for Artificial Intelligence

Newer versions

Andres Monroy-Hernandez, danah boyd, Emre Kıcıman, Munmun De Choudhury, and Scott Counts. The New War Correspondents: The Rise of Civic Media Curation in Urban Warfare, ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 23 February 2013.

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