'Research in the wild' in online communities: Reddit's resistance to SOPA

Melissa Loudon


This paper uses Callon, et al.’s (2009) hybrid forums model to analyze the development of a campaign of resistance against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. Despite broad Congressional support, the bill was defeated by the collective efforts of Internet users, online communities, Web companies and digital rights advocacy groups. Using data from the social news Web site Reddit, I describe the introduction of uncertainty into the narrow economic risk frame favored by proponents of SOPA, and the deployment of a programme of collective evidence–building that Callon, et al. describe as “research in the wild”. The article concludes with a discussion on the implications of Internet activism for the democratic process.


Internet activism; SOPA; Reddit

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i2.4365

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