The People V. The Internet

For the “national and web security” side of the story, we once again can see that the people who believe that Wikileaks and Edward Snowden pose a security threat to the U.S. are much less vocal about it on social media. Whereas the other side can be found to make quite some noise on all platforms, the national security side is a little quieter. One might expect that the more conservative or Right leaning new sources might be filled with more outright backlash against someone who could, and may, be considered a threat to national security and/or a spy, but it seems to that even Fox news seems to take a non-committal stance on condemning or praising Wikileaks. Yet on Fox News, USA Today, and Brietbart, there were only “factual” seeming reports on what the Wikileaks dumps COULD mean.

More traditional reporting has come out against wikileaks recently, as most politicians and elected officials are perfectly willing to rail against them. This is the form we see most criticism of Wikileaks or Snowden coming about.

Marco Rubio made clear: “As our intelligence agencies have said, these leaks are an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process and I will not indulge it.” This differs greatly from the anti-establishment sentiment Trump has allowed to permeate his adulations of Wikileaks. Rubio continued, “Further, I want to warn my fellow Republicans who may want to capitalize politically on these leaks: Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow it could be us,” he said. It is not clear if Wikileaks reciprocates the sentiments or endorsement for Trump. But what is clear, from government officials at least, both sides, Democrats and Republicans have united in their dissent of Wikileaks.

Especially after the wikileaks “DNC Hack” much of the thought around Wikileaks seemed to solidify in its turn from “adulation” to distain—or at the very least confusion.

Many outlets have turned around their stance on Wikileaks. The “conspiracy” nature of many of Wikileaks and Assange’s statements, have seemingly turned the tides in the more tradional press outlets, against him. Karl Vick, writing for says: That has changed. With the publication of emails expressly aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, WikiLeaks has shiftedfrom a global platform for whistle-blowers to something less exalted — and lately, a bit strange. Julian Assange, the site’s founder, hinted darkly in a Dutch television interview on Tuesday that a young Democratic National Committee staffer who had been murdered in Washington, D.C., on July 10 had been killed because he had provided information to WikiLeaks, which posted a $20,000 reward for information on the July 10 death of Seth Rich.” This illustrates a firm negation of the authority that Wikileaks may have once held in the eyes of the traditional press.

The Trend continues on, and as of this fall, it would seem that Wikileaks has lost much of its credibility with the press.

The recent silence from Snowden, has caused for a decreased conversation about him, but as Eve points out, he has become something of a rallying symbol for the anti-establishment movements.

Both of Snowden’s supporters and opponents uses similar tactics, but their overall strategies seem very different.Snowden’s defenders tend to martyrize him by diabolizing the Government. This strategy is one of the most popular ones used by his supporters regardless the type of social network.  For instance, on Twitter, @annelise_alene posted:screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-4-02-49-pm

She is worshiping Snowden for having revealed the truth on surveillance and at the same time, she is condemning the Government for violating its mission to protect its citizens and their privacy. On Facebook also, an article posted by Democracy now, a page that focuses on weekdays global news, an article was published on September 15 about a debate on whether or not Obama should pardon Snowden:


among the 386 comments, the majority were supporting Snowden’s Pardon by Obama with different arguments such as:


These users seem to defend their hero with arguments that are not for the US government. Here they do not look very aggressive, but whenever an opponent index Snowden as a Traitor, these same supporters most often use unyielding language to counterattack:


Here Amelia Obrien, who is retired, believe that Snowden betrayed the country, but younger people like Glen Anthony Clifton, Cameron Jones, or Rick Dennison, who do not agree with her, treat her as an individual who does not understand what is going on nowadays. It is also important to mention that most of the posts that incriminate the government is usually made by people that have some political interest. Many anti-democrats tend to use Edward Snowden’s case to campaign for Trump election or Hilary anti-election. To put it in another way, many pictures of Hilary Clinton were associated with Snowden and some of the captions that were associated with these photo collages include:


Here, Snowden advocates who also participate in the political debate estimate that If Snowden is considered as a traitor, so is Hilary. Others believe that if Hilary were elected, she would not have pardoned Snowden just like Obama because they are all Democrats.

It is also important to mention that Snowden also has supporters that do not know anything about the political war that is going on. They just agree with Snowden’s cause because they estimate that he sacrificed his life for them. Among those people, there is Naxhije Much, a Facebook user from France who does not seem to have a political opinion. He mentioned in the comment here that Snowden was a hero. Others like Roomah Michael Raps, and Harry C Maas also consider Snowden as a real hero:

As it was demonstrated in previous posts, Snowden supporters are more active on Facebook and Twitter compared to other social media networks such as Instagram. It seems like because Facebook and Twitter offer a possibility of sharing and retweeting, it is easier for Snowden supporters to keep their hero in the mind of everybody. On Facebook and Twitter, for instance, users like Bo Stevens, and @arusbridger, where able to share articles about Snowden and add their personal captions, which their friend and followers were able to comment on:

However, on Instagram, even tough, people can share pictures of some articles talking about Snowden, they cannot share a direct like to the same article as easily as on Twitter and Facebook. In the end, Snowden supporters, more likely the younger generation (a.k.a the internet generation) fight very aggressively for their cause, Snowden freedom.


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