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University of Iowa
Does the Internet facilitate anti-regime dissent within authoritarian states? I argue that the Internet fosters dissent mobilization through three factors: distance, decentralization and interaction. First, the Internet fosters dissent mobilization by allowing protesters to
communicate relatively cheaply and instantaneously over great distances. While other communication mediums also reduce distance costs, the second factor, decentralization, allows dissenters to use the Internet to evade state controls and reduces the state's ability to restrict information flows. Third, the Internet's Interactive nature allows users to both become consumers and producers of information. Interactivity also fosters trust between users that can evolve into offline action.