Social Media and Social Movement: A Case Study of Car-Mob Activity in the Northern Area of Thailand 2564 B.E.

  • ณัฐพล ดีโต
Keywords: Social Movement Process, Social Media, Public Sphere, Political Space, Car Mob Rally


This research on Online social movement: a case study of Car Mob activity in the Northern of Thailand 2021 aimed to study the communication on Facebook of the social movement groups in holding Car Mob Rally Event in Northern region in 2021, to study the creation of political space on Facebook of the social movement groups in holding Car Mob Rally Event in Northern region in 2021, and to study the characteristics of the political space on social media through social movements.

This qualitative research was conducted using thematic analysis and in-depth interviews with individual sample groups. This study employed Trevor Smith's concept of political space to analyze the data together with the concept of communication on social networks and political participation as a framework for analysis.

The results of the study of communication characteristics of social movement groups revealed that the social movement groups used social media to communicate their activities, especially Car Mob Rally Event with satirical illustrations and used live broadcast for presenting the information, as well as used videos from important leadership groups to invite those who were interested to participate in the event by presenting information, and each movement groups’ Facebook page posted messages with short, concise language and presented their claims against the government.      

In terms of the creation of a political space on Facebook, it was found that a political space on Facebook could be created under the elements of a three-tiered political structure comprising people, rules and places. People referred to social media users; rules referred to the rules established on the basis of movement and rules of the use of platforms, or it may be defined as rules for participation, whereas places were social media space which could be a Facebook page. These three factors were considered as important components of construction of a political space in the online world.

According to the characteristics of the political space on social media from social movements, the results discovered that social movement groups created political space based on the concept of Trevor Smith; however, those political spaces, especially the gathering of individuals in the online space, contributed to political talks, which were definitely regarded as the construction of political atmosphere and political space on Facebook page of the social movement groups owing to the participation on Facebook area, especially the opinions leading to the exchange of ideas between each other. Nonetheless, groups on Facebook space did not have specific rules, making the creation of those political spaces only consistent with the concept of a three-tiered political structure, including gathering and discussing and doing activities. The areas were Facebook pages of social movement groups. Regarding the rules, it could not be concluded whether there were rules for commenting on a group; besides, as to using a pseudonym, the movement of movement groups could affect a large number of people. According to Trevor Smith, the use of Facebook page as a medium for communication and movement of activities was an attempt to create an atmosphere conducive to political dialogue with anonymity, which made it free from bias in expressing opinions on a Facebook page. As for the conflict, the respondents thought that the presentation of the social movement groups was a one-way presentation of information, which may lead to the Echo Chamber phenomenon resulting in conflicts between followers and participants who expressed their opinions on Facebook of movement groups.