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Protesting the lockdown: geo-indexing a movement publicly opposing Covid-19 policies on Facebook

Mercea, D. ORCID: 0000-0003-3762-2404, Saker, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-7414-2840 & Gonzalez Santos, F. (2024). Protesting the lockdown: geo-indexing a movement publicly opposing Covid-19 policies on Facebook. Social Movement Studies, pp. 1-24. doi: 10.1080/14742837.2024.2336957


The Covid-19 pandemic saw restrictions being implemented to curb the spread of the virus. This seeded anti-lockdown demonstrations across the globe. Leveraging network, quantitative and qualitative textual analysis tools, we scrutinize the expression of opposition to these restrictions on 96 public Facebook groups and pages, and its connection to physical places across the globe. To grapple with this relation, we propose the concept of geo-indexing as the practice of adding meaning to physical places on social media and identify a transnational network of geo-indexed posts. Importantly, this geo-indexed opposition was framed as unified against an unjust and undemocratic imposition of restrictive measures. The language used in some of this communication was conspiratorial, albeit to a lesser degree than expected. Moreover, geo-indexed posts were used to evidence the scale of public mobilization, the cohesion of the protests, to articulate the virtue of transgressing health measures and to extoll those who said or did so, across multiple sites.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Publisher Keywords: Covid-19, conspiracy, protest, transnational, Facebook, social media, geo-indexing
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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