Submit Event

ANU Malaysia Institute presents

From ‘dark social’ activism to the ‘WhatsApp election’



1st August 2018


Institutes Boardroom, 1.12 Coombs Extension Building 8, ANU



On 8 May 2018, Barisan Nasional (BN) the longest serving government in any democratic country in the world to that date, was swept from power in Malaysia’s GE14 election. In the lead up, media and political scholars claimed that, as opposed to GE13 where social media participation was understood to have influenced the election outcome, GE14 would be the ‘WhatsApp election’.

The explanation provided was that WhatsApp was the main media used in the circulation of ‘fake news’, and, that in a context of increased government surveillance and censure of political chat on social media, that encrypted chat apps enabled a ‘safe option’ for citizens to connect with one another and engage in politics (Leong 2018).

In this seminar, Dr Amelia Johns will examine these claims in light of findings from a three year project involving interviews and ethnographic observation of 30 Malaysian-Chinese youths’ (aged 18-24) digital citizenship practices, and interviews with key policymakers shaping Malaysian digital citizenship policy.

For more information, visit the event page.

Press Ctrl+C to copy