Mon, Jul 08, 2019 - Page 8 News List

How Dcard facilitates political awakening among millennials

The social media platform is where Taiwan’s youth are mobilizing and making their voices heard

By Candice Chiang  /  Contributing reporter

On June 23, demonstrators in Taipei protest against pro-China media outlets.

Photo: Candice Chiang

If not for Dcard (狄卡), Lee Tai-yu (李岱佑) would not have participated in the demonstration against pro-China media in Taipei last month.

Clad in a white T-shirt — symbolizing opposition to “red” media — Lee was among the thousands of protesters who took over Ketagalan Boulevard on June 23. Led by Internet celebrity Holger Chen (陳之漢) and New Power Party legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), protesters demanded regulations to curb the spread of misleading news by pro-China media outlets.

Lee told the Taipei Times that anti-extradition bill demonstrations in Hong Kong have “sparked anxiety” about cross-strait relations among teenagers in Taiwan. They have taken to Dcard to repost stories written by protesters, share ways to support the demonstrations and call out pro-China media.

“It was through Dcard that I realized our generation has to fight for democracy. That’s why I’m here,” Lee said.

Most millennial protesters learned about the rally through Chen’s and Huang’s Facebook pages. But Dcard has also played an essential role by helping many recognize how important it is to be politically conscious and engaged.

Initially designed for the sole purpose of helping university students expand their social circles and find romantic partners, Dcard has transformed into a medium for them to engage in conversations on a variety of topics, most notably politics.

POLITICS ON DCARD

Like most millennials around the world, teenagers here use Facebook and Instagram. But Dcard, a uniquely Taiwanese platform, is their real go-to.

The Web site is designed to be a community where users can be comfortable publishing and commenting on articles anonymously. Topics range from casual matters like ranting about life, seeking relationship advice and sharing daily outfits, to more serious ones such as raising social awareness and discussing politics.

As demonstrations unfolded in Hong Kong last month, an article titled “Hong Kong streets flooded by anti-extradition bill protesters” (香港反送中遊行,爆滿) was the most popular on Dcard, receiving over 31,000 likes.

The author points out the significance of the anti-extradition bill demonstrations for Taiwan, namely the illegitimacy of China’s “one country, two systems” framework, and how passage of the bill could put Taiwanese citizens in Hong Kong at risk of extradition by Beijing for making pro-Taiwanese independence statements.

Dcard’s founders declined to comment on how their Web site has contributed to facilitating a political awakening among teenagers.

But with the presidential election coming up next year, Dcard’s politics and current events panel has repeatedly been top-trending on the platform for the past few months.

When CtiTV News (中天新聞) airs broadcasts about Kaohsiung Mayor and presidential hopeful Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), posts analyzing and debunking them often take over Dcard’s feed.

One example was an article in May addressing reports that “Marvel is creating a superhero based on Han Kuo-yu” (漫威要求創作韓國瑜故事). It includes a screenshot of a message from Marvel’s official Facebook account confirming that there are no such plans.

After the rally against pro-China media, a post titled “6/23 Taiwan, I will hold an umbrella over you” (6/23 台灣,換我為你撐傘) was top-trending on Dcard, receiving over 23,500 likes. Comprising photos of the demonstration and simple captions, the post pays tribute to all who participated.

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