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Previous studies have shown that social media use among participants in the 25 January Egyptian uprising was high and that protesters indicate that social media were important in their decision to join the protests (Tufekci & Wilson, 2012; Wilson & Dunn, 2011). Other studies suggest that the attitudes toward the regime and toward democracy in general prior to the uprising were no different from non-users (Norris, 2012). So far, no direct comparison has been made between protesters and a equivalent group of non-protesters in terms of their social media use. In this paper, we use data that have been gathered by Vote Compass Egypt, an online voting tool, to compare protesters and non-protesters in how important they rate different sources of political information. The results show that participants in the 25 January uprising rely more on Facebook and Twitter to get political information, and less on mass media (radio and TV). The association between protest participation and social media use is mediated by higher optimism about the future of the country, more democratic attitudes and less trust in government. Use of mass media is associated with less protest participation through more trust in government.
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