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Abstract

By looking at the argumentative uses of ‘status updates’, we discuss how Facebook design and context of use influenced opportunities for deliberation during the Egyptian phase of the Arab Spring in early 2011. Our basic point is that, somewhat against the grain of much debate on designing precise tools for supporting online argumentation, many benefits for open and critical argumentation result, in this case, from unintended, indeed parasitic, uses of online technologies. This is evident in the ways that (seemingly) politically trivial, “commercially colonized” and entertainment-oriented technologies such as Facebook or YouTube become major arenas for deliberative mobilization and serious argumentation.

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