REEDOM ON THE
Animal Político’s approach, which appears to be unique among Mexican
media, is clearly working. In July 2012 alone, visits to the site increased from 700,000 to 2 million.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and international blog-hosting services are
widely used in Mexico by citizens, advocacy groups, and political parties.
As of September 2012,
Mexico was home to the second largest community of Facebook users in Latin America after
Brazil—and the fifth largest in the world—with an estimated 38,463,860 users.
The number of
Mexicans with Twitter accounts (a group which includes President Enrique Peña Nieto
ballooned, growing from 146,000 in February 2010 to more than 11 million in early 2013.
Although netizens have been utilizing social media to provide critical warnings to local communities
about dangerous cartel-related situations,
members of organized crime have also begun using such
applications to exchange information on military checkpoints. Such subversive use of social
networks has prompted calls by some Mexican politicians for increased government monitoring and
regulation, though to date no such legislation has been passed.
In addition to their aforementioned uses, Facebook and Twitter are also growing in popularity as
forums for political commentary and mobilization, a trend which was witnessed in the lead-up to
the July 2012 general elections.
In May 2012, students at Iberoamericana University used online
tools to assist in mobilizing protests against the potential return of the Revolutionary Institutional
Party (PRI) to the executive. Rallies were held against PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto (elected
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Benassini, “El Gabinete de Calderón en Twitter” [Calderón s cabinet on Twitter] Razón y palabra, April 2012,
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and Facebook for Information and Survival,” New York Times, September 24, 2011,
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survival.html?_r=1; Miguel Castillo, “Mexico: Citizen Journalism in the Middle of Drug Trafficking Violence,” Global Voices , May
5, 2010, http://globalvoicesonline.org/2010/05/05/mexico‐citizen‐journalism‐in‐the‐middle‐of‐drug‐trafficking‐violence/.
Alexis Okeowo, “To Battle Cartels, Mexico Weighs Twitter Crackdown,” Time, April 14, 2010,
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24, 2009, http://blog.ogilvypr.com/2009/09/social‐media‐in‐mexico‐5‐things‐you‐need‐to‐know/.