Lindsey Peterson, Kentse Radebe, and Somya D. Mohanty
Societies Without Borders 11.1 (2016), p. 10.
Publication year: 2016

South African students across numerous university campuses joined together in the second half of 2015 to protest the rising cost of higher education. In addition to on-campus protesting, activists utilized Twitter to mobilize and communicate with each other, and, as the protests drew national attention, the hashtag# FeesMustFall began trending on Twitter. Then, what began as a localized movement against tuition increases became a global issue when a court interdict was granted by a South African court against the use of the# FeesMustFall hashtag. This paper traces that global spread of the# FeesMustFall hashtag on Twitter as a response to the extraordinary attempt to limit online free speech. In this paper, we analyze the global flow and geographic spread of the# FeesMustFall hashtag on Twitter. Our evidence supports the argument that the attempt to censor and curtail the protestors’ right to organize and share the hashtag in fact propelled the# FeesMustFall movement onto the international stage.

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