Fitna is a 2008 short film made by a Dutch member of parliament to support his fight against Islam. It shows shocking footage of terrorism, violence and women’s oppression and claims that these are inherent to Islam. The film caused immense controversy and mobilized people across the world to produce and upload their own views to YouTube. In this article the researchers analyze these videos using different theoretical models of democratic interaction, and distinguishing between antagonism, ‘agonism’ and dialogue. On the basis of a cybermetric network analysis we find that the videos are mostly isolated reactions to the film. Only 13 percent or fewer of the posters interacted with each other through comments, subscriptions or ‘friendship’. These interactions could be qualified as antagonistic or agonistic, but very rarely involved dialogue. It is therefore concluded that YouTube enabled a multiplication of views rather than an exchange or dialogue between them.
This interesting article is published in the December 2011 issue of New Media & Society. Access it for free here.