Facebook has perhaps been one of the biggest vehicles for mass revolt in recent times. Uprisings such as those in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain have actually been referred to as “Facebook Revolutions”. Indeed, Facebook has been instrumental and vitally important to the cause of protestors in many countries. Through facebook they can organise demonstrations and protests, not only this but they effectively advertise the protests to thousands of people suffering from similar conditions to themselves, increasing support dramatically.
Some would claim that these protests would not even be possible without social media instruments such as Facebook. There’s a photograph from Tunisia at bbc.co.uk/radio1 which shows a wall graffitied with the words “Thankyou Facebook”. During the protests journalists and reporters were prevented from covering any scenes of uprising. Facebook wasn’t.
The main disadvantage with your garden variety Facebook revolution day is that everybody can see it. Not only do would-be protestors take an interest in their plans for civil revolt, the governments are quite keen as well. It is especially problematic when announcing exact dates and times along with telling the general public exactly where the riot (or civil movement) is going to take place. Obviously any aspiring government Columbo worth half his salt could work out where to put all the policemen with the guns and batons. Announcing a revolution day on Facebook is a bit like announcing a party on Facebook – it could quickly turn into an organized free-for-all.
At least if they tell the police and the government where the revolt is happening it means they don’t need to bother tapping their phones, which saves them some money.