Tweeting against corruption: Fighting police bribery through online collective action

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för informatik och media

Abstract:

Efforts to utilise Twitter to improve communication in Kenya between officials at the Kenya Police and Ministry of Interior, and Kenyan citizens, are researched specifically addressing efforts to use Twitter to report and combat police corruption. The goal is to assess efforts to use the social networking platform to improve communication channels between officials and citizens, through a mixed methods approach incorporating a content analysis of thousands of tweets sent by four separate government Twitter accounts, as well as interviews with Kenyans who have interacted with the accounts on Twitter. In addition, I assess the potential value of Twitter as a corruption-reporting platform. The research builds on existing ICT4D research, Castells’ communication power theory, as well as collective-action approaches to fighting corruption. The results of the research reveal potential problems of incident-focused social media-based corruption reporting in developing collective-action networks focused on fighting police bribery and broader government corruption. The tendency of social-media interactions to be dominated by relatively meaningless discussions limits Twitter’s value as a useful channel for two-way communication between citizens and officials. Social media-based anti-corruption efforts dedicated to building collective-action networks focused on long-term solutions, rather than highlighting individual incidents, may be more effective in fighting corruption.

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