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Digital Activism Gone Right: The Case of İbrahim Keloğlan

When a video of a man, İbrahim Keloğlan, violently killing a cat took over social media, people all over Twitter, Instagram - or any other platform for that matter - were not happy. A huge movement was started by animal rights activists, and soon enough, people rallied up against İbrahim Keloğlan, seeking justice for Eros, one of the many animals he’s alleged of abusing.

The Case

Around 2 months ago, reportedly on January 1st, 2024, İbrahim Keloğlan was getting into an elevator in a building in his apartment complex in Başakşehir when he saw the cat, Eros. He abused the cat for 6 minutes, resulting in its death. When the video of the incident surfaced on January 4th, he got arrested. His case was taken to court around a month later on February 8th, and his initial punishment was decided to be to spend a year and a half in jail. However, a higher court order was decided and he received good conduct time, his sentence now being reduced by 3 months. Later on, his sentence was postponed and he was released from captivity.

The Impacts of Activism

Mid-February, when people heard about the reduction of his prison sentence, they assembled on social media to protest. A campaign for his case to be reconsidered was started on, and it gathered over 250.000 signatures from people all over the country. Animal rights activists rallied a great crowd, and eventually, the social media protests were heard and made an impact. The Minister of Justice, Yılmaz Tunç, conveyed both his and President Tayyip Erdoğan’s dissatisfaction with the incident on the record. With the impact of the social media protests and campaigns, İbrahim Keloğlan was agreed to be retried. There is currently no information about the specifics of his trial, but in the upcoming days, his case is going to be reconsidered. Even if his court trial doesn’t lengthen his prison sentence, the protests are still a success for social media activists, because in this specific case, a group of people passionate about animals’ rights were able to spread truthful information to many people.

Is Digital Activism Actually Effective?

İbrahim Keloğlan’s case is merely one of many in the universe of digital activism. In today’s world, social media is seen as a platform to make an impact, and whether anyone agrees or not, there have been many examples of successful campaigning on social media such as the “Black Lives Matter” or “MeToo” movements. This case can now be regarded - among many others - as an example that proves that change can truly be made by just a group of people gathering together to object to something.

On the other side of things, digital activism can be argued to be ineffective at times due to causes like social media interactions being passive, the abuse of information by social media platforms, or false information. In some cases, social media campaigns do not make a great impact because of the passiveness of the campaigners. Social media posts always have the chance of remaining an opinion with no actual impact. No change is made when the people participating in activism don’t have a strong personal commitment to the case. In addition to this, it is important to note that another reason for digital activism not being fully effective at times is the fact that social media generally does not serve as a reliable source to gain knowledge because of misinformation and / or biased content. Social media platforms don’t show all users the same information. Users’ activities are tracked, and the content shown to them is adjusted accordingly. With some people spreading false information that isn’t backed up by any proof, and others believing them, the misinformation factor is also a cause for concern. Altogether, there seem to be many reasons for digital activism to fail.

The question of whether or not digital activism works is dependent on many factors, but it can be seen that in some cases, it does make an impact. Just like how activists persuaded the court to go into retrial for İbrahim Keloğlan’s prison sentence; when information is correct, people are passionate, and circumstances are right, social media can serve as a suitable platform for people to initiate a movement of change within the world.

Works Cited

Habertürk. “İstanbul Başakşehir’De Kediyi Tekmeleyerek Öldüren İbrahim Keloğlan Hakkında Flaş Karar! - Son Dakika Haberi.” Habertürk Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

“Is Digital Activism Effective?: Univer @sity of Sussex.” University of Sussex - Study Online, 19 July 2023

“Kampanyayı İmzala.” Change.Org,. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Ntv. “Eros’U Vahşice Öldüren Sanığın Tahliye Edilmesi : Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan: Nasıl Olur Böyle Bir Şey?” NTV, 25 Feb. 2024


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