GE13 : The Darkest Day in Malaysia History #blackprofilepicture

According to James Gomez, ‘Social media election’ was quoted by Malaysia’s Prime Minister and Barisan National (BN) leader Najib Razak in general election 2013.  It was argued that Internet was the first mark in Malaysia political development (Lim, 2012). In 2008, BN underestimated social media on online voting behaviour. In fact, social media such as Facebook and Twitter greatly impacted in general election 2013; from 800,000 Facebook users to 13,220,000 and 3,429 Twitter users to 2,000,000  in Malaysia (, 2013). 

The Internet has facilitated Anwar supporters to reform movement which also leads to a new culture that Malaysian choose to pick up information from alternative news websites such as freemalaysia and sangkancil in order to know commentaries unfold event. Fischer (2009) argues that Internet has not only caused the forms of Partai Keadilan Rakyat but also shifted Malaysians to the Internet to access unbiased information. At this point, connectivity is power when everyone can connect to each other in order to access information. 

YouTube has been the social media platform since 2008 for both parties in general election of Malaysia. In the early of 2013, Twitter and Facebook have surprisingly changed the way of voting in Malaysia. However, unhappy and resentful Malaysians had changed Black profile picture on Facebook to express dissatisfaction on GE13 after the result released for few hours (Ong,2013). This social media platform indicates how Malaysian particatipate when one changes Black profile picture after one.


Source from Johsua Ong

Malaysians used Black to express dissatisfaction of 2013 general election due to the unexpectedly magical blackout and recount later on. Moreover, Tweets of exasperation were all over on Twitter after election by posting feelings and images as status from Malaysians (Wan Hong, 2013).

Twitter was the ‘updating’ platform when everyone posting status with images or without- immediacy. Here’s the link to see how Malaysians updated status with images and information about the election on Twitter. See at

Furthermore, Malaysians used recording to upload to YouTube to update the real scene behind of election and events after post- election. Indeed, YouTube was then become one of the strongest social media in political Malaysia in order to let Malaysians know and in a way to express their resentful and angry feelings.

This video indicates that how Malaysians are dissatisfied on the 13th general election in Malaysia.

In a nutshell, the social media has obviously revolutionized the country’s first Malaysia’s general election in 2013 – immediacy, ubiquitous connectivity and participation.


7 thoughts on “GE13 : The Darkest Day in Malaysia History #blackprofilepicture

  1. jlrsymonds says:

    Hi April,

    As I found in my own research, I think it is particularly interesting how each social media platform has the tendency to be utilised for various different applications in a social movement. For example, as you discussed, Twitter is the ‘updating’ medium.

    I think this demonstrates the power of using social media; individually, each platform may not necessarily have the coverage to harness and drive a movement, however together, they can cover the range of individuals and movements.


  2. I like the way you combine this weeks readings with a real life example. I think your statement “connectivity is power when everyone can connect to each other in order to access information” hits the nail on the head so to speak, in that it demonstrates how the world is now having a conversation not within the confines of individuals or nation-states but with the entire globe. The example you use is also analogous to another election in India. In the run up to the 15th Lok Sabha elections, for the first time both parties on the opposing sides attempted to reach out to potential voters through social media. There was huge amounts of activity on twitter on voting day almost 2.003 million tweets were made in relation to the election. With over 150 million first-time voters aged between 18-23 years. Tweets from the main politicians and parties and voters was seen by the large majority of individuals voting.Within Australia we even saw mass disillusionment with the federal system, with people advocating their dislike for both major political parties but being forced to vote nonetheless. This has particularly effected young Australians who make up the “connected generation” with the Australian Electoral Commission statistics showing that 35% of Australian aged between 18 and 24 have not registered to vote.Instead of looking to the establishment young Australians are increasingly turning to themselves to reflect the change they wish to see.By incorporating politics into their everyday internet interactions. By using differing tools and mediums and the new forms of social media activism to get opinions heard on a more global scale. Good Job !


  3. A very well study of the heavily use of social media in the general elections. Today, social media is indeed more than just a platform for people to reach out to one another. It is also a powerful tool which can be used by protestors to voice out their opinion as well as getting access to unbiased information online as you have mentioned in your post. Besides that, I like the part where you illustrate the example with the trend of Malaysians changing their profile picture into a black image which truly show how impactful can the social media be. Overall, Great post!


  4. Hi April, your case study this week was really well done – you’ve used a relevant example in the Malaysian GE, which was less common than the examples used in the lecture, so I commend you on that. Your example of the black profile picture is very interesting, as i did not know about this until I read your article, but that’s very interesting – I have been involved in a similar trend in the past, not for political reasons, but to raise awareness. Good job!


  5. great post, loved how you branched out for this weeks topic, most post I have seen, myself included focus mainly on the social movements in the middle east, so seeing something fresh was great. This social movement was far more tamed then some of those in middle east, why do you think that was?


  6. Malaysia GE13 is a very good example to explore the rising significance of social media and the shifting patterns of traditional media. I totally agreed with your statement that connectivity is power when everyone can connect to each other in order to access information. Due to bias reporting and shrinking credibility of the mainstream media, we have no choice but to turn to online news portals and independent information providers such as Free Malaysia, The Rakyat Post and Malaysiakini. With the local media heavily favor Malaysia’s governing coalition in term of both the quantity and quality of coverage devoted to the coalition and its parties, the unition of Malaysian fighting for free press with the help of citizen journalists was mind- blowing, hence, marked Malaysia 13th General Election as the battle between the coalitions and the rise of social media in Malaysia’s history.


  7. I agree that the internet has facilitate us from doing alot of things via online however do you think we nodes. As internet users has misuse and take advantage of it to disseminate and form illegal discussions and groups that will affect all forms of things, for instance, politics issues. However, it definitely have it’s contradictory of pros and cons in this case.


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