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The role of Facebook in enhancing inalienable rights in Palestine

Abstract : This study examines the ability of the famous social network called "Facebook" in enhancing the inalienable rights "freedom of speech and expression" in Palestine. It will concentrate on the new sphere Facebook is creating "the sphere of freedom". Considering Palestine to be a third world country where its governmental laws are not completely applied. Many opposing opinions have emerged regarding "social networks and freedom". Some believe that social networks can empower oppositional political movements, while others see it as a tool of suppression held against citizens especially in autocratic countries like Iran, , where the internet is highly monitored by the government. Palestine was one of the first Arab countries to introduce electronic press to its people, because of the belief that the internet can help Palestinians convey the reality of the Palestinian issue to the world, and fight the information war declared by Israel. Another reason for the quick internet progress is due to fact that, the Israeli institutions supply their country with huge advanced services in this field, and therefore Palestinians should cope with that. Palestine has its special case with internet monitoring, because there are no restrictions or control over the internet by the Palestinian authority, there are also no constitutional laws which organize information technology. Facebook overview:Facebook is "a web-based service that allows individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system". It is the world's largest social media service, launched in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. In October 2011, Facebook was reported to have more than 800 million active users. The total number of users in the Arab world stands at 32 million (as in august 2011), at a 50 % growth since the beginning of 2011. "According to the social networking statistics; Facebook penetration in Palestine is 25.74% of the country's population and 82% in relation to number of Internet users. The total number of Facebook users in Palestine is reaching 647 280 and grew by more than xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />48 860 in the last 6 months (April-October 2011). They also indicate, that the largest age group of users is between 18 - 24, with a total number of 291 276 users, followed by the users in the age of 25 - 34. Stats also show that 72% of the users in Palestine are males and only 28% are females. Where globally the ratio is 1:1 (males to females)" Upon the most popular modules users can add to their profiles are "Facebook groups" ,which "are a shared space where members can participate in communal activities like group chat, e-mail lists, document sharing and group photo-tagging" Facebook members can create groups and join others based on common interests or activities. Thus allowing for exchange of views and thoughts, leading to civic and political impacts upon users. The other most popular module on Facebook is a "Facebook page" which is a public profile specifically created for businesses, brands, celebrities, causes, and other organizations. Pages can gain an unlimited number of fans. A page owner can promote his/her ideas through posting status updates (similar to blog posts). Fans can comment and like the statuses and also post on the page expressing and sharing their thoughts.Research Questions:1. what kinds of Palestinian popular groups are there on Facebook and what subjects are frequently brought up?2. How is Facebook used in Palestine?New media and public spheresThe main reason for addressing the question of the role of Facebook in enhancing the inalienable rights in Palestine refers to the definition of new media as it offers on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, creative participation and community formation around the media content. So, the concept of public sphere fits this kind of research depending on its definition of this concept, as it is an arena where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political, social.... action. (Meyer and Moors, 2006, 7). Therefore, this paper is built on this concept as an attempt to diagnose and explain the nature of Facebook uses in Palestine. Literature review:Facebook usage is still new in Palestine; this explains the lack of the researches relating to the subject of this study. "The relationship between the new media and freedom of speech and expression in Palestine, taking Facebook as an example" is the title of the new book published in Palestine, written by Mahmoud Al-fatafta and Dr.Walid Alshorafa. This book discusses the effects of Facebook upon the Palestinian media and its impact on civil and press freedoms. It provides a critical reading of the concept new media "a reflection of social mobility, which reduces areas of expulsion in Arab societies such as suppression, repression and sex". These lacks are compensated trough the virtual world and the public sphere, where an individual can freely express him/herself and practice his/her inalienable rights without limits. Alfatafta and Al-shorafa book concentrates on the theoretical aspects of the subject, however, in the present research content analysis will determine inalienable rights on Palestinian Facebook pages and groups. The study will explore these forms of public participations in practical manners. Methodology:In this paper, we try to analyze the contents of three of the Palestinian pages and groups on Facebook, precisely the most popular ones, in terms of members. There are a number of Facebook pages and groups in Palestine concentrating on (political, social, cultural, entertainment and religion, however, it appeared through the research that the chosen pages and groups are the most popular among Palestinian Facebook users. The kinds of participations and the analysis are aimed to discover how it can the new public sphere contribute in enhancing civic rights. Qualitative and quantitative methods will be adopted in this paper, quantitative data will be collected from the Facebook pages and groups itself such as the number of the members, post subject, Gender of the participant...etc, yet, the qualitative analysis will enhance the research environment in Palestine regarding the inalienable rights and active participation. This analysis will depend on types of subjects, language use and interactivity. The reason for choosing this type of methodology aims at indicating the power of different types of discourse and their impact on different categories within public members in the community. Thus, the period in which analysis will take place will be for one week examining the posts, comments within the chosen sample (hundreds of posts and comments).
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Contributor : Compte Laboratoire Geriico <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 4:17:18 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 12:08:12 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-00840558, version 1



Mohammed Abualrob. The role of Facebook in enhancing inalienable rights in Palestine. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. ⟨hal-00840558⟩



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