Hijacking #myNYPD: Social media Dissent and Networked Publics

Jackson, S. J. and Foucault Welles, B.
Journal of Communication
65(6), 932-952. (2016)
November 15, 2016


In this article we investigate the hijacking of the Twitter hashtag #myNYPD following the launch of a public relations campaign by the New York City Police Department in April of 2014. Theorizing networked counterpublics, we examine how Twitter was used as a platform to generate and promote counterpublic narratives about racial profiling and police misconduct. Through a combination of large-scale network analysis and qualitative discourse analysis, we detail counterpublic structure and leadership, discursive strategies deployed by crowdsourced elites, and the reception of counterpublic activism in mainstream media. We conclude with implications for understanding the evolving nature of counterpublics, with particular consideration to the roles of new and old media in (re)shaping public debates around marginalization, profiling, and policing.

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