Privacy governing knowledge in public Facebook groups for political activism

Madelyn Rose Sanfilippo, Katherine J. Strandburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social media is increasingly used to share information about political issues and coordinate political activism. This paper examines privacy as governance in online knowledge sharing and organizing within the Day Without Immigrants, March for Science, and Women’s March movements. Structured by the Governing Knowledge Commons (GKC) framework, the study illustrates how rules-in-use creatively support appropriate information flows and govern information resources to balance community objectives and privacy. Interviews, contextualized by participant surveys and Facebook data, illustrate: the importance of (1) polycentric governance and (2) private decision-making in public Facebook groups used by activists, and (3) privacy protecting institutions governing common knowledge resources shared within and across movements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-977
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number7
StateAccepted/In press - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • politics
  • social media
  • Social movements
  • surveillance/privacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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