YEREVAN | A new flag is flying proudly these days alongside the Armenian national flag at opposition rallies for Armenia’s 6 May parliamentary elections, and it is the flag of Facebook. The U.S.-based social network is proving an increasingly handy tool for shaking up Armenia’s ossified election system – both for exposing abuses and for campaigning – and political parties and voters alike are eager to claim allegiance.
In the last three months, Armenia has seen its number of registered Facebook users increase by nearly 18 percent (to 282,700), according to the international social media databank Socialbakers.com; the second highest increase in the South Caucasus, after Azerbaijan at 27.02 percent.
The social network has “solved” the problem of “the information blockade” about real life in Armenia that characterized the 2008 parliamentary election, commented one youth activist who bore the Facebook banner at a 30 March campaign rally in Yerevan for the Armenian National Congress, Armenia’s largest opposition coalition.
“I brought the Facebook flag to the rally to show the government that now there is a unique, reliable alternative [for information] to be used by everyone,” said 24-year-old Areg Gevorgian.
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(by Marianna Grigoryan, From EurasiaNet.org.)