The Public Interest Behind #JeSuisCharlie and #JeSuisAhmed: Social Media and Hashtag Virality as Mechanisms for Western Cultural Imperialism

Phillip Arceneaux

Abstract


As social creatures, humans are highly involved in storytelling. With the continued advancement of communication systems, the mechanisms for telling the narrative of human events also have evolved. Social media and the memetic properties of hashtags’ going viral are the apex of modern, digitally mediated, storytelling tools. This critical essay discussed two hashtags, i.e., narratives, of the Charlie Hebdo Paris shooting to illustrate how hashtag virality can be a mechanism for the spread and enforcement of Western perspectives. It then explored precedents under which international law could potentially warrant regulation of such behavior. Concerned with the protection of human diversity and cultural pluralism, this essay advanced a normative course of action to facilitate social change as conceived by an interdisciplinary framework. 


Keywords


hashtag; virality; Je Suis Charlie; electronic colonialism theory; international law

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.32473/jpic.v2.i1.p41

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