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Nenciulescu Oana, Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds, UK
“How does Facebook provide an opportunity for the Romanian diaspora to impact the introduction of electronic voting?”
The paper seeks to investigate how Facebook is used by the Romanian diaspora to deliberate on and to impact the introduction of the electronic vote for Romanians abroad, as part of ‘Diaspora Votes’, an ongoing advocacy project initiated by an NGO connecting Romanians worldwide.
In order to assess the effectiveness of Facebook as a tool of inclusion of immigrants in the politics of the home country, interviews were carried out with the campaign organisers so that the initial intentions of using Facebook in the project were determined. Through interviews with the participants in the Facebook debate, the paper aims to find out the reasons of use and involvement in the project and also the level of trust participants have in social media as a tool for debating and impacting policy change. A content analysis of a debate event on Facebook assesses the way in which the Facebook infrastructure works in order to encourage debate and how participants make use of it, looking at the ways in which they communicate.
The paper also attempts to find out whether uniformity of social backgrounds and prior connections with Romanians abroad are reasons of involvement of immigrants in the Facebook activity of the project.