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Invisible Children - KONY 2012

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image Kony forced children into military service and sex slavery.

KONY 2012 is a film and campaign to bring about the arrest of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony for atrocities against children and their communities.

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2012 -- The will of the masses has reached an epic tipping point through the power of a viral video circulating on Facebook and Twitter. In less than a 48-hour period the video has been viewed approximately 12.5 million times; "liked" on Facebook 16,800 times, and 944 blogs have written about the campaign to stop Joseph Kony. The video, KONY2012 is an effort to "make Joseph Kony famous, and not in a good way".

Like the Arab Spring, the speed, reception and online mobilization has culminated into shaping and lifting the message on the collective digital backs of millions of people all throughout social media. 

Advocacy Media's General Manager, Jon Tilton, of the DC-based issue advocacy and digital media marketing firm specializing in online grassroots advocacy and issue awareness noted;

  • "Our research finds 96% of the volume of the millions of unique online conversations, within the last 48 hours, regarding the KONY2012 video, and its message, have been favorable…."
  • "It's no surprise that women are leading men with a 51/49 split of women to men discussing the issue in blogs, Twitter and social communities, like Facebook."
  • "The first mainstream digital powerhouse influencer to push a KONY2012 message was P-Diddy on @IAMDIDDY, to over 5 million Twitter followers".
  • Furthermore, "In the context of a war-weary electorate in an election year, to see the online masses attach to an issue online in such a way is epic…it's online participatory politics at its best…society is not sitting by idly, a digital army is amassing to take Kony out. Congress can no longer turn a blind eye, Tilton said.

The online political will of the people cannot be ignored. In fact, plenty of celebrities have gotten involved in sharing the video about KONY 2012, resulting in it becoming a worldwide top trending topic on Twitter for the past few days.

Justin Bieber retweeted a post to his 9 million followers "#Kony2012 is number 1 trending topic on Twitter worldwide!! See why by clicking here... It might change ur life"

P-Diddy tweeted to his 6 million followers, "Dear Joseph Kony, I'm Gonna help Make you FAMOUS!!!! We will stop YOU #StopKONY ! All 6,OOO,OOO of my followers RT NOW!!! Pls!"

Kim Kardashian retweeted to her 13 Million followers a post by her sister Kendall and wrote, "#Kony2012 Wow just watched! What a powerful video! Stop Kony!!!"

Oprah tweeted to her 9 million followers, "Thanks tweeps for sending me info about ending #LRAviolence. I am aware. Have supported with $'s and voice and will not stop.#KONY2012."

"Social Media has truly flattened the political landscape. What once took several weeks and hundreds of thousands of dollars to generate offline awareness about an issue, now can all be done at the click of a mouse, at the cost of infinitesimal." Tilton said.

About our methodology: To reach this result, social media discussion was analyzed in online communities, sites, Facebook pages and Twitter, as well as in message boards and in the blogosphere. Approximately 50,000 discussions about the situation took place during the time period of data collection from March 1 – 8, 2012. While approximately 96% support the campaign, 2% of the discussions were undecided or didn't have an opinion, and 2% were unfavorable.

About Advocacy Media

Advocacy Media is an online issue and brand promotion agency.  A full-service digital grassroots marketing firm, Advocacy Media uses the power of the Internet to give clients a competitive advantage online, while safeguarding their brands from the effects of negative perceptions and attacks online. Advocacy Media was founded by the strategic communications firm, Weber Merritt. Jon Tilton is Advocacy Media's General Manager. Advocacy Media is headquartered in Alexandria, VA. To learn more about Advocacy Media, please visit www.advocacymedia.com or reach us for interviews at 703-299-2600.

SOURCE Advocacy Media


WASHINGTON, Mar 9, 2012 -- UPDATE:  Yesterday we reported on the breakdown of the numbers for the online video calling for the capture of Warlord Joseph Kony. Today we have updated our numbers to reflect the video's worldwide dispersion.


  • 14.7 million views since March 1
  • 19,000 "likes"
  • 4,000 blog posts

Notably, while the video had a 96% favorable sentiment yesterday regarding the video, as it has traveled around the world, the public has become slightly more skeptical. Today, the video has garnered a 90% favorability rating, and a 10% unfavorable rating.  Negative conversations discuss general cynicism of the U.S. Government being able to do anything about KONY, and the integrity of the organization.

Highlighting the role of new media in the speed and circulation of news, Twitter leads the Kony2012 discussion by 30.6%, followed by Facebook 23.3%, blogs at 19.5%, and tradition news outlets at 11%.


Corresponding with the most used news platforms, 71% of those talking are 21-50 year olds, with 27% of under 20 year olds contributing to the discussion.


Around the world in two days, the Kony 2012 video has allowed Joseph Kony to become a true international celebrity. Yesterday, March 8th, the majority (54%) of online discussion surrounding this topic was taking place in the U.S.  However, in the past 24 hours, the online momentum has shifted and Europe has begun to pick up the story. At the moment, the U.S. leads discussion with 51%; followed by:
UK - 8%
AUS - 4%
CAN - 6%
GER - 2%

What to Watch For:

In the U.S. – changes in age demographics of those looking and talking.  Expect an increase in older demographics.  Question:  will this translate into greater pressure on elected officials to make statements and/or act?

In Europe – right now, the UK shows the greatest interest.  Will this interest spread to other UE nations and what kind of reaction or response might this elicit in Brussels?

In Australia – at what pace will interest grow and what impact will this have on official statements and policies?

In Asia – relatively low levels of activity.  Will Asia follow the European lead or is this not an issue of great importance there?

And, finally, will mostly U.S. and UK centered interest attract the attention of the UN?

Following such a rapidly developing story with cutting edge social media measuring tools creates an interesting and active issue environment. 

No longer limited by time and space constraints, Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms are clearly the vehicles for building international awareness.

About our methodology: To reach this result, social media discussion was analyzed in online communities, sites, Facebook pages and Twitter, as well as in message boards and in the blogosphere. Approximately 50,000 sample discussions were pulled about the situation that took place during the time period of March 1 - 9, 2012. While approximately 90% support the campaign, 10% were unfavorable.

SOURCE Advocacy Media



Kony 2012 is a film created by Invisible Children, Inc. which became a viral video.[2][3][4][5] The film's purpose is to promote the charity's 'Stop Kony' movement to make indicted Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony internationally known in order to arrest him in 2012.[6]

The film has spread virally.[7][8][9] As of 9 March 2012 (2012 -03-09), the film currently has over 14.4 million views on Vimeo,[10] and over 60 million views on video-sharing website YouTube,[11] with other viewing emanating from a central "Kony2012" website operated by Invisible Children. The intense exposure of the video caused the "Kony 2012" website to crash shortly after it began gaining widespread popularity.[12] The video has also seen a number of celebrities endorsing the campaign including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Christina Milian, Nicki Minaj, Bill Gates and Kim Kardashian.[8][13][14][15][16] On April 20, 2012, as part of the campaign, supporters will put up posters promoting Kony 2012 in their home towns. Invisible Children offers posters from an online shop in an attempt to gain wider recognition on the issue. They have also created action kits that include campaign buttons, posters, bracelets, and stickers to help spread awareness.[12]


The film documents the Invisible Children Inc's plans and efforts to arrest Kony. It describes Kony's guerrilla warfare tactics with his Lord's Resistance Army and the regions (northern Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan) in which they have been employed.[17] One of the main people featured in the film is a Ugandan named Jacob, whose brother was killed by Kony. In response, director and founder of Invisible Children, Jason Russell, "promises Jacob that he will help stop Kony."[18] The film advocates curtailing compelled and coerced youth military service and the restoration of social order.[4] The video also has clips of Jason Russell's son, Gavin. Gavin is a young child and many children his age are subject to Kony's regime. Gavin shows that even though he's young he wants to help and wonders why no one else does. He also says innocent, childlike things – when told that Kony forces people to kill family members and fellow countrymen, his response is "But they're not gonna do what he says, 'cause they're nice guys... right?".

"Culture and policy makers"

The Invisible Children charity has been focused on obtaining the support of a select group of individuals in order to "help bring awareness to the horrific abuse and killing of children in the East and Central African countries at the hands of Kony and his leadership". This list included 20 "celebrity culture makers", such as George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, and Ryan Seacrest.[19]

The list also featured 12 "policy makers" that have "the power to keep U.S. government officials in Africa" in order to work toward the capture of Kony. This list includes former U.S. President George W. Bush and his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (although their administration pursued a policy of hostility towards the International Criminal Court[20]), and U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry.[21]

Criticism and responses

The campaign has come under criticism for its simplification of events in the region.[22] Part of this purported simplification is the campaign's failure to mention Ugandan government actions or those committed by the Sudan People's Liberation Army or the complicated regional politics fueling the conflict.[23] Another critique is that the film gives a misleading impression of the whereabouts and magnitude of Kony's remaining LRA forces: in fact, Kony's followers are now thought to number only in the hundreds.[24] There has also been a more cynical analysis of Barack Obama's decision to send military advisers to the region, it being suggested that it was a reward for Uganda giving assistance in Somalia. Obama did announce a kill-or-capture mission with "combat-equipped troops" to take out Kony in Uganda. [23] Further criticism has come from the campaign's lack of accountability towards the Ugandan government in the conflict.[22] Jedediah Jenkins, the "director of idea development for Invisible Children", responded to the concerns about working with the Ugandan government by stating that, "There is a huge problem with political corruption in Africa. If we had the purity to say we will not partner with anyone corrupt, we couldn’t partner with anyone."[25]

In November of 2011, while the Kony 2012 film was in production, Foreign Affairs magazine published an article that stated that Invisible Children had "manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders" and was "portraying Kony – a brutal man, to be sure – as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil".[25] Resolve, one of Invisible Children's "partner organizations", responded to the article, saying that the accusations were a "serious charge ... published with no accompanying substantiation."[25] These criticisms of how Invisible Children has been acting to raise awareness and the statements that were made in the film resurfaced when Kony 2012 was released. Jenkins responded to the new criticisms by saying that they were "myopic" and that the video itself was a "tipping point" that "got young people to care about an issue on the other side of the planet that doesn’t affect them".[25]

There has also been criticism related to the plausibility of Kony 2012. Cooperation between the United States of America and Uganda is hard-fought, and the two armies have failed to come together and cooperate in numerous occasions [26]. The Kony 2012 film has raised a possibility of the military of African nations coming together to find Kony, however, military coordination and cooperation is lacking within the countries where the LRA resides itself. Since the LRA has split up, there is no guarentee of quick or even possible success in the mission to capture Kony, and Kony is not with the group that has been committing the most damage and atrocity with the people of Uganda.

Official response

On March 8, 2012, Invisible Children released an official response, addressing the criticisms directed at the Kony 2012 film. They explained that they "do not defend any of the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Ugandan government or the Ugandan army" and the reason why they are working with the Ugandan army even though Kony is no longer in Uganda is because the army is "more organized and better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries (DRC, South Sudan, CAR) to track down Joseph Kony" and that they want all of the governments in the region to work together to arrest Kony. As an explanation for the simplicity of the movie, they stated that "in [their] quest to garner wide public support of nuanced policy, [they] sought to explain the conflict in an easily understandable format". [27]



  1. ^ a b c d e f (in English) KONY 2012 (Motion picture). Invisible Children. 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "News Hour – Trending Now: Kony 2012". Global TV. 2012-03-06. http://www.globaltvbc.com/video/trending+now+kony+2012/video.html?v=2206826267#stories/video. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  3. ^ Lees, Philippa; Zavan, Martin (March 7 20). "Kony 2012 sheds light on Uganda conflict". Ninemsn. http://www.news.ninemsn.com.au/world/8431277/kony-2012-sheds-light-on-uganda-conflict. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  4. ^ a b "Jackson Center To Show KONY2012". The Post-Journal. February 14, 2012. http://post-journal.com/page/content.detail/id/599038/Jackson-Center-To-Show-KONY-2012.html?nav=5004. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  5. ^ "Uganda rebel Joseph Kony target of viral campaign video". BBC News. March 8 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17295078. 
  6. ^ Myers, Julia (March 7, 2012). "A call for justice". Kentucky Kernel. http://kykernel.com/2012/03/07/a-call-for-justice/. 
  7. ^ Neylon, Stephanie (2012-03-07). "Kony fever hits York!". The Yorker. http://www.theyorker.co.uk/news/citynews/10807. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  8. ^ a b Molloy, Mark (2012-03-07). "Kony 2012: Campaign Shedding light on Uganda Conflict a Huge Online Success". Metro. http://www.metro.co.uk/tech/892373-kony-2012-campaign-shedding-light-on-uganda-conflict-a-huge-online-success. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  9. ^ Nelson, Sara C. (2012-03-07). "Kony 2012: Invisible Children Documentary Sheds Light On Uganda Conflict". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/07/kony-2012-invisible-children-documentary-sheds-light-on-uganda-conflict-video_n_1326183.html?ref=uk. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  10. ^ "Kony 2012". Vimeo. http://vimeo.com/37119711. 
  11. ^ "Kony 2012". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Lees, Philippa (2012-03-07). "Australian support amasses for Kony 2012". ninemsn. http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8431494. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  13. ^ "Taylor Swift – Stars Join Uganda Campaign". Contactmusic.com. 2012-03-07. http://www.contactmusic.com/news/stars-join-uganda-campaign_1301071. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  14. ^ "Kony 2012". The Voice. 2012-03-07. http://www.voice-online.co.uk/video/kony-2012. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  15. ^ Michelle Profis (March 7, 2012). "Celebs tweet opposition to African strongman Joseph Kony". Entertainment Weekly. http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/03/07/celebs-tweet-joseph-kony/. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  16. ^ Gates, Bill (2012-03-08). "@BillGates status". Twitter. https://twitter.com/#!/BillGates/status/177883491076284418. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  17. ^ "KONY 2012, an Invisible Children film, to show on campus March 12". Penn State Altoona. 2012-03-05. http://www.altoona.psu.edu/now/news.php?value=3646. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  18. ^ Jenny McGrath (March 7, 2012). "Celebs Help “Stop Kony” Trend on Twitter: Who Is Kony?". Wetpaint. http://www.wetpaint.com/network/articles/celebs-help-stop-kony-tweet-on-twitter-who-is-kony. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  19. ^ Rebecca Macatee (March 7, 2012). "Kony 2012: George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and You Asked to Save Africa's Invisible Children From Torture". E!. http://www.eonline.com/news/kony_2012_george_clooney_angelina_jolie/299424. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  20. ^ "GENERAL US APPROACH TO THE ICC". Subsection: PREVIOUS US ADMINISTRATION ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE ICC: The American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC). http://amicc.org/usinfo/administration.html. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  21. ^ Devin Moss (March 7, 2012). "The Flash – Rocklin High School – KONY 2012". http://my.hsj.org/Schools/Newspaper/tabid/100/view/frontpage/articleid/507449/newspaperid/234/KONY_2012.aspx. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b Okwonga, Musa (2012-03-07). "Stop Kony, yes. But don’t stop asking questions". The Independent. http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/03/07/stop-kony-yes-but-dont-stop-asking-questions/. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  23. ^ a b Schomerus, Mareike; Allen, Tim; Vlassenroot, Koen (2012-03-07). "Obama Takes on the LRA". Foreignaffairs.com. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136673/mareike-schomerus-tim-allen-and-koen-vlassenroot/obama-takes-on-the-lra?page=2. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  24. ^ Keating, Joshua (2012-03-07). "Guest post: Joseph Kony is not in Uganda (and other complicated things)". Foreign Policy. http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/07/guest_post_joseph_kony_is_not_in_uganda_and_other_complicated_things. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  25. ^ a b c d Elizabeth Flock (March 7, 2012). "Invisible Children responds to criticism about ‘Stop Kony’ campaign". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/invisible-childrens-stop-kony-campaign/2012/03/07/gIQA7B31wR_blog.html?wprss=blogpost. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Joseph Kony is Infamous - But will he be caught?". NPR. http://www.npr.org/2012/03/08/148239201/joseph-kony-is-now-a-star-but-will-he-be-caught. Retrieved March 09, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Invisible Children Critiques". http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/critiques.html. Retrieved 10 March 2012.


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