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The Emergence of Social Media & the Political Crisis in Pakistan
Unformatted Document Text:  Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 6 The Emergence of Social Media Though the Internet made its debut in 1995 in Pakistan, the country ranks 8 th on the list of top 10 Internet-consumer countries in Asia (Internet World Stats, 2010). YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and political blogs are gaining popularity, particularly among Pakistani youth and the educated community. Founded in February 2005, YouTube—Broadcast Yourself is one of the most popular social networking sites in Pakistan (YouTube, 2010). In just five years, countless videos related to Pakistan’s politics, culture, music, etc., have been uploaded either by individuals or institutions. The growing popularity of YouTube is posing new challenges to the government’s control over the flow of information in the country. In May 2010, Pakistan blocked access to YouTube, blaming it for disseminating sacrilegious content in the country (BBC, 2010), an example of growing frustration of the political elite over the popularity of social media in Pakistan. Like YouTube, Facebook is becoming another popular social network all over the world. According to a recent report, Facbook has more than 500 million active users, of whom 70% are outside the United States (Facebook, 2010). By the end of 2009, there were 1,094,40 active Facebook users in Pakistan (Internet World Stats, 2010), and the number continues to rise. Because of the social media’s ability to keep the consumers’ identities hidden (Rohlinger & Brown, 2009), the government is finding it difficult to arrest and punish the violators of existing media laws in Pakistan. Conceptual Framework

Authors: Arif, Rauf.
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Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 6
The Emergence of Social Media
Though the Internet made its debut in 1995 in Pakistan, the country ranks 8
th
 on the list of 
top 10 Internet-consumer countries in Asia (Internet World Stats, 2010). YouTube, Facebook, 
Twitter, MySpace, and political blogs are gaining popularity, particularly among Pakistani youth 
and the educated community. 
Founded in February 2005, YouTube—Broadcast Yourself  is one of the most popular 
social networking sites in Pakistan (YouTube, 2010). In just five years, countless videos related 
to   Pakistan’s   politics,   culture,   music,   etc.,   have   been   uploaded   either   by   individuals   or 
institutions. The growing popularity of YouTube is posing new challenges to the government’s 
control over the flow of information in the country. In May 2010, Pakistan blocked access to 
YouTube, blaming  it for disseminating  sacrilegious content  in the  country (BBC, 2010), an 
example   of   growing   frustration   of  the   political   elite   over   the   popularity  of   social   media   in 
Pakistan. 
Like YouTube, Facebook is becoming another popular social network all over the world. 
According to a recent report, Facbook has more than 500 million active users, of whom 70% are 
outside the United States (Facebook, 2010). By the end of 2009, there were 1,094,40 active 
Facebook  users in  Pakistan (Internet  World  Stats, 2010), and  the number  continues  to rise. 
Because of the social media’s ability to keep the consumers’ identities hidden (Rohlinger & 
Brown, 2009), the government is finding it difficult to arrest and punish the violators of existing 
media laws in Pakistan. 
Conceptual Framework


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