A growing body of literature shows that social media plays a key role during crises and conflicts. In addition to traditional media, social media are used to mobilise people for a common cause and to communicate vital information. Very little is known about social media use during crises in the sub-Saharan African context.
This article presents how Twitter is being used in the ongoing Cameroon Anglophone Crisis by several groups including the government, Anglophone activists, media organisations, and everyday citizens. Using critical theoretical perspectives to examine tweets from 1 September 2016 to 31 December 2018, this article identifies key themes. These include: placement of the crisis in a contested, historical context; debates about naming the crisis; key concepts; depiction of several forms of violence; and potential options for resolution.
Social media is being used by the government, Anglophone activists, and non-affiliated people to sway public opinions on the crisis and solicit the attention of local, Diaspora, and broader international communities. Social media use has loosened the grip of governmental control of media messaging and expanded the public narratives available in Cameroon, yet at the time of the writing, this does not appear to have lessened the impact of the crisis.