Social media as the fifth estate: Strategic organisation of German and Finnish counterspeech campaigns on Facebook

Sosiaalinen media viidentenä valtana: Saksalaisten ja suomalaisten vastapuhekampanjojen strategista organisaatiota Facebookissa


  • Sabine Ylönen Jyväskylän yliopisto


vastapuhe, sosiaalinen media, viides valta, aktiviteettien strateginen organisaatio


Social media, also called the fifth estate, form a new control body and may thus fulfil democratic functions. On the other hand, social media have enabled the proliferation of hateful debates in which, in the name of freedom of speech, previously tabooed content and language are becoming de-tabooed and accepted. As a response to fake news, direct and indirect hate speech, however, forms of organised counterspeech have emerged that counter the normalisation of aggressive and hateful speech. To influence the discourse in the comment sections of social media in terms of the fifth estate, counterspeech has to be visible also quantitatively. In this contrastive study, I analyse the activities of the German and Finnish Facebook groups of the network #iamhere international. Special attention goes to how the groups organise their activities strategically and how much the conventionalisation of digital genres influences the intensity and continuity of their activities.