The KONY2012 video was posted on the internet on February 20th, and since has been viewed over 100,000,000 times. This video touched the hearts of millions by describing the conquests of Joseph Kony and the LRA through different social media outlets and through the eyes of the narrator’s (Jason Russel’s) son. While the video was incredibly effective in spreading awareness, it also came with criticism and a reinvigorated evaluation of the idea of slacktivism and the internet’s ability to promote social change.
Criticism of the video and campaign comes in many forms. There is strong criticism that the video presents outdated information that does not accurately represent the state that Uganda is in nor does it portray the current state of the LRA. Especially from the Ugandan community, many are saying that the video takes agency away from the affected community itself and therefore prevents it from being able to rebuild. Perhaps the criticism with the most implications for the future of social media campaigns is that the video oversimplified the situation to the extent that it borders on inaccuracy, so that it could more effectively appeal to the viewers’ emotions as opposed to being accurate (Unpacking KONY2012).
Many scholars such as Evegeny Morozov believe that if this becomes the model for social advocacy online, then the country is in a lot of trouble. One of the major things the video asks viewers to do is to keep reminding politicians that capturing Joseph Kony is a priority of the people of the United States. A dangerous possibility to consider, however, is that if the priorities of politicians are formed from what spreads quickly on Twitter as opposed to well-informed discussion based on accurate information, the United States’ policy-making may be changed for the worst.