Putting a price on social movements: A case study of #metoo on instagram

Tanisha Afnan, Hsiao Ying Huang, Maria Sclafani, Masooda Bashir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social media has enhanced the dissemination of information relating to specific social movements, allowing activists to quickly mobilize and more easily communicate. However, the practice of “hashtag activism” has unforeseen consequences; it gives users with commercial interests a great deal of control over when and how hashtags are utilized. To investigate the intersection between commodification, social movements, and social media, we examined the use of #metoo and three other #metoo-related hashtags on the popular social networking platform Instagram as a case study. The aim of the #metoo social movement, which gained traction in 2017–2018, was to raise awareness on the issue of sexual violence. We collected a sample of 200 randomly selected posts to analyze their content and relevance to the movement. Our findings not only indicate that 1 in 5 posts within our sample had a commercial aspect, but also revealed a variety of commodifying strategies employed by the users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Commodification
  • Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
  • Online Activism
  • Social Media
  • Social Network Site

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Library and Information Sciences


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