As we have shown in class, facebook can act as a sensational influencing tool. This was demonstrated last year through the Kony 2012 video (invisible children) that aimed to raise awareness about Joseph Kony, the leader of the rebel group the L.R.A. The project aimed to persuade people to share the video, making it viral to try to encourage cooperation to end the injustice caused by Kony and his rebel group. This campaign was incredibly successful, with the majority of people being aware of the video and sharing it on facebook.
Marzouki, Skandrani-Marzouki, Béjaoui, Hammoudi & Bellaj (2012) showed that facebook acted as a catalyst in the success of the Tunisian revolution. They investigated why facebook had such an impact on the revolution by getting participants to rate the importance of the Tunisian revolution five days after the fall of the regime. Their results indicated that facebook is used as a method of receiving information. This informational influence is a form of social proof whereby individuals want to conform to the ‘correct’ opinion or behaviour. Additionally, van Noort, Antheunis & van Reijmersdal (2012) demonstrated that the stronger the tie between the ‘sender’ and the ‘receiver’, the more persuasive the message.
Therefore, things can be spread via facebook friends and the closer you are to that person, the more inclined you are to conform to their opinion, which is exacerbated by informational influence.
Marzouki, Y, Skandrani-Marzouki, I, Béjaoui, M, Hammoudi, H., &Bellaj, T (2012). The contribution of facebook to the 2011 Tunisian Revolution: A cyberpsychological insight. CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 15, 237-244.
Van Noort, G., Antheunis, M., & van Reijmersdal, E. A. (2012). Social connections and the persuasiveness of viral campaigns in social network sites: Persuasive intent as the underlying mechanism. Journal of Marketing Communication, 18, 39-53.