Armenian opposition talks Facebook

The majority of Armenian Facebook users are supporters of Armenian National Congress (HAK), according to Levon Zurabian, a senior figure in Armenia’s radical opposition movement.

Zurabian, who isn’t even registered in Facebook, told PanARMENIAN.Net reporter, that monitoring of the world’s largest social network carried out by the opposition force has revealed “great support” for the HAK among the population of Armenia. He than went on to conclude, that HAK supporters are educated people, who “have access to Internet technologies and social networks.”

Only a day after “Chorrord Inqnishkhanutyun” newspaper, strongly supportive of HAK, wrote that Armenian authorities are monitoring the internet and seeking out users who post status messages containing words like “revolution”, “rally”, etc.

This was followed by a flash-mob, with dozens of HAK supporters posting the word “revolution” in their statuses.

As the Armenian National Congress prepares for a key rally on February 18th, to commemorate the rigged presidential elections two years ago, which resulted in an unprecedented political standoff in the country, all this Facebook talk by the opposition amid scenes of Tunisian and Egyptian Twitter revolutions is not accidental. We will clearly see more Facebook talk on the rally, but will it help the Armenian opposition?

Popular social network attracts more and more Armenian users

Armenia is only 124th in the list of 213 countries by number of Facebook users, but the social network continued very strong growth here by doubling the number of Armenian users in the course of the past 6 months.

Currently there are 123,000 users registered from Armenia, which is something like 4% penetration in total population terms. So it is sheer utopianism to claim, as Zurabian did in his interview with PanArmenian.net, that social networks “provide great opportunities to overcome information blockade imposed by the Armenian authorities via total control of television.”

Important note: the number of Facebook’s Armenian users worldwide is much bigger, because the tracking of users is done based on IP number ranges and is limited by geography, not nationality.

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16 thoughts on “Armenian opposition talks Facebook

  1. Art, Zurabyan is simply not literate in Internet technologies.
    First – he said something about monitoring, but said nothing about what company/individual conducted it, nothing about the methodology used, and no exact figures. From the other hand – I like that he hadn’t lied, cause IMHO it is impossible to conduct such a monitoring at all. Any monitoring of that kind will be partial and not representative because of the way Facebook designed.
    Second – Facebook is really difficult to monitor for any given word. The only way I can imagine – is crowdsourcing, bit it will require en enormous number of watchers, who are fluent in Armenian. I’m pretty sure that this information is simply product of an LTP addicted brain.
    Third – I cannot miss the opportunity to tell your readers, that there’s smth more, than simple LTP addiction between Levon Zurabyan and Corrord Inqnishkhanutyun. Editor in Chief of Chorrord Inqnishkhanutyun, Shogher Matevosyan, is the wife of Levon Zurabyan.
    Fourth – If you will recall 2008 and developments in 2009, 2010 and 2011 – than you will see, that nothing can help ANC. Not the Twitter, nor the Facebook. They used it aggressively, they tried to benefit from it, and they failed. Their current chance – is Egypt, that’s why they are trying to draw parallels and try to inflate their popularity in social networks.
    Fifth, and perhaps the last – there’s great concept in Armenian named “վայիս”. If their last hope is to վայիս to Egyptian riots – than I can say, that Tigran Karapetyan has more than good chances, to break ANC’s monopoly in opposition field. :)

    1. I have some good ideas about Facebook monitoring, but will tell you when we meet in person.

      Thanx for mentioning the Zurabian and “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” connection, that’s an important point, which I forgot to mention.

      1. Firstly, I doubt you can monitor Facebook because anyone using it properly will make sure their settings are such that you can’t. Secondly, if anyone can in such a situation we’re all potentially in trouble and its value as a tool for activism is diminished…

  2. I don’t use facebook much but I have seen it grow to become more important in spreading information. It’s just another medium of communicating and it primarily engages the young audiences. the older audiences are reached through more conventional media like papers or TV. But with the clampdown of TV or radio, they can only be reached by papers like Haykakan Zhamanak (if they don’t bankrupt it with frivolous lawsuits).

    In any case, facebook is simply another tool in the toolbox.

  3. Art jan, just saw this post. Very interesting updates for me, thanks.

    Yes, I don’t think you can fully and thoroughly monitor Facebook, but most of the opposition activists on Facebook have relaxed privacy settings with open walls and hundreds or even more friends. So it’s quite possible to ‘get in’ and see what is going on!

  4. the fake evil levons nazy opposition never shall come to power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    no word agaist the russian millitary presence in RA we did hear from levon! he shall never come to power again!

    ни слова против военного присутствия россии в нашей респ. Армения мы от них не улышали!
    Среди его лагеря нет достойных лидеров.
    левон никогда не придет к власти повторно!

    My comments on video


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