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Information Cascades and #MeToo

https://www.ft.com/content/6973e6d6-d047-11e7-9dbb-291a884dd8c6

In this article explores the contributing factors that likely led to the rise of the recent #MeToo movement in today’s particular political and cultural climate. The article attributes the movement’s success to digital information cascades brought about by information technology as well as resistance against the extreme and inflammatory words and actions of President Trump. Sexual assault and harassment issues have been prevalent for a long time, but in the past, power structures and bureaucracy made it slow and difficult for a survivor to report her assault and make her voice heard. The article suggests that the speed and availability of communication technology today makes it easier for victims to seek justice “beyond the control of lawyers or traditional authority figures… Once-powerless victims have a megaphone. Isolated victims can suddenly congregate into a crowd. Informational cascades, in other words, overturn power structures.”

This is consistent with what we’ve learned about information cascades. In the past, when issues of sexual misconduct have been brought up, any following information cascade would quickly be dissipated by dense clusters of bureaucracy and a culture that shames survivors. This article argues that readily available communication technology has facilitated #MeToo¬† information cascades by making it easier to overcome these barriers and get their stories out there.

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