The Affiliative Use of Emoji and Hashtags in the Black Lives Matter Movement in Twitter
Protests and counter-protests seek to draw and direct attention and concern with confronting images and slogans. In recent years, as protests and counter-protests have partially migrated to the digital space, such images and slogans have also gone online. Two main ways in which these images and slogans are translated to the online space is through the use of emoji and hashtags. Despite sustained academic interest in online protests, hashtag activism and the use of emoji across social media platforms, little is known about the specific functional role that emoji and hashtags play in online social movements. In an effort to fill this gap, the current paper studies both hashtags and emoji in the context of the Twitter discourse around the Black Lives Matter movement.