The Digital Wheatpasting Revolution: Amplifying Social Justice Voices in the Age of Shadow Banning
In the digital age, social media has become a powerful tool for activists to raise awareness about various social justice issues. However, the rise of shadow banning poses a significant challenge to smaller accounts trying to spread their message. Digital wheatpasting emerges as a successful communications strategy for social justice activists to overcome this obstacle and ensure their voices are heard. Fareeha’s video on this technique inspired us to create this article for the Calling Up Justice community.
Understanding Shadow Banning:
Shadow banning, the practice of limiting the visibility of a user’s content without their knowledge, has become a prevalent issue on social media platforms. This phenomenon disproportionately affects smaller accounts, restricting the reach of their posts, particularly on issues such as pro-Palestine activism, anti-racism, transgender rights, and abortion rights.
The Dilemma for Small Accounts:
Despite having substantial follower counts, smaller accounts often find their engagement artificially limited, leaving their important messages reaching only a fraction of their audience. This situation hinders the impact of their activism and impedes the growth of grassroots movements.
Enter Digital Wheatpasting:
Digital wheatpasting draws inspiration from the physical world’s wheatpaste poster art, where messages are pasted on public walls to be seen by a wide audience. In the digital realm, this strategy involves engaging with influential accounts with millions of followers, strategically commenting on their posts with social justice statements.
How Digital Wheatpasting Works:
- Identifying Influential Accounts: Activists identify accounts with large followings that align with their cause. These accounts may include celebrities, influencers, or individuals with significant social media reach.
- Strategic Engagement: Activists engage with the content of these influential accounts by leaving thoughtful comments related to social justice issues. These comments serve as digital posters, reaching a vast audience that might not be exposed to such content through the activists’ smaller accounts.
- Leveraging Proper Engagement Metrics: Larger accounts typically have higher engagement rates, making their content less susceptible to shadow banning. By associating social justice messages with these accounts, activists increase the likelihood of their messages reaching a broader audience.
- Raising Awareness: Activists not only spread their messages but also make followers of influential accounts aware of the limitations faced by smaller activists due to shadow banning. This creates a ripple effect, encouraging more individuals to become advocates for a fairer social media landscape.
Benefits of Digital Wheatpasting:
- Amplifying Voices: Digital wheatpasting enables activists to amplify their messages on a larger scale, leveraging the reach of influential accounts to bypass shadow banning.
- Building Solidarity: Engaging with larger accounts fosters a sense of solidarity within the online community, as individuals unite to combat the challenges faced by smaller activists.
- Initiating Conversations: By commenting on relevant issues on popular posts, activists spark conversations among diverse audiences, raising awareness and promoting dialogue.
Watch these videos to learn more about this technique. In the face of shadow banning, digital wheatpasting has proven to be an effective strategy for social justice activists seeking to overcome the limitations imposed on smaller accounts. By strategically engaging with influential figures, activists can ensure that their messages reach a wider audience, sparking conversations and building momentum for change in the digital realm. As the online community continues to evolve, these innovative strategies empower activists to break through barriers and make a lasting impact on social justice issues.