Diaspora Social Media Engagement Research Project

Summary of Project:

Increased access to the Internet has afforded people new ways of association, assembly and
expression. This has in turn shaped the public sphere and civic actions. In this research project, defyhatenow examines how increased social media use by South Sudanese in the diaspora shapes public opinion in an ever-shrinking civic space in South Sudan. We are specifically
interested in how Facebook Live content creators in the diaspora shape public opinion in South
Sudan and how this in turn affects conflict and peace in South Sudan. This project draws attention to the idea that despite creating and expanding spaces for people to participate in
different personal and community activities, the Internet can also be used to negatively impact
communities. #defyhatenow will, therefore, focus on how these negative impacts manifest
offline among communities in South Sudan. The main goal in this project is to demonstrate the
importance of social media in shaping public opinion and to give recommendations on how
social media can be used in peacebuilding initiatives.


  • To find out how Facebook Live users in the diaspora shape public opinion in South Sudan
  • To find out how South Sudanese in the country perceive information communicated by Social media users in the diaspora
  • To determine how diaspora Facebook Live users acquire key information from South Sudan which is later communicated via social media to people in South Sudan
  • To build a critical mass of conscious and credible information creators and consumers in South Sudan