Mobilization and Resistance through Social Media: Analyzing Content, Effects and Networks in CSR Scandals in the Chocolate Industry

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    Social media are widely considered as driving force for the institutionalization of CSR. It holds great potential for the empowerment of citizens, consumers, social movements or pressure groups. So far, this role of social media in the strategic communication of pressure groups is underexplored. By analysing the use and content of social media of protest actors on the one hand and corporations on the other, the paper contributes to understanding the mechanisms, conditions and effects of social media based pressure on corporations. Drawing on social movement theory, discourse theory and neo-institutional theory, it empirically analyses and contrasts civil society responses to two recent CSR scandals in the chocolate industry. While the revelation of deforestation with detrimental effects for Orang Utans fostered vast protest, leading to the abandonment of criticised practices by the international corporation Nestlé (March 2010), the revelation of child trafficking and slavery throughout the chocolate industry, gave rise to only moderate opposition (July 2010). The paper discusses the reasons underlying this discrepancy by analysing the differences and dynamics between the semantic networks and associative frames (Guo & McCombs, 2011, Schultz et al., 2011) of the actors via semantic network analysis (1765 sentences in social media, 132 in press releases). The findings allow further evaluations of institutional, ethical and political conditions and reflections on the implications of “social media values”.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2012
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    EventThe 62nd Annual International Communication Association Conference. ICA 2012 - Phoenix, United States
    Duration: 24 May 201228 May 2012
    Conference number: 62


    ConferenceThe 62nd Annual International Communication Association Conference. ICA 2012
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Internet address

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