Indigenous Communities, Online Diaspora and Social Media

Aboriginal Australian Communities seek to bolster their culture and identity through Facebook.


Aboriginal Australian have prominently adopted the Facebook platform which came out with new features to connect more users with their communities. This paper focuses on how Facebook functions as a defensive media mechanism against Aboriginal discrimination in Australia. It explores the shift of cultural practices from physical to online due to existing barriers, the tools that individuals in the Aboriginal communities are using to gain followers in both their social and political campaigns. It also examines how Aboriginal communities are using Facebook to voice out their issues which are often held in contempt by the mainstream media.

Keywords: #aboriginal, #aboriginalaustralians #aboriginalempowerment #aboriginalactivism #culturalconnection #empowerment #facebookcommunities #identity #indigenousempowerment #onlineidentity


In a world where technology and the internet are becoming more accessible, communities are starting to use social media to their advantage. Social media platforms like Facebook have defied the ‘old’ mainstream media as it disregards any social discriminations made by the society. The Aboriginal Australian communities have endured concerning social injustice over the past hundred years. These issues further highlight the importance of social media in their communities. Antonia (2013) describes the Australian Aboriginals as a community limited to technology due to financial difficulties. Besides, Watson (2015) states less than 50% of people living in remote communities have access to own technological devices. However, the social media usage amongst the Aboriginal Australians have been increasing. Carlson et al. (2015) demonstrate more than 50% of the remote communities being active users on online platforms. Although the community has been almost unnoticeable through the mainstream media, they have been forced to use Facebook to voice out their issues. Facebook helped the aboriginal community to cherish their culture and identity bypassing any existing obstacles occurred by nature or mainstream media. Bearing upon, the Aboriginal Australian communities adopted Facebook as it helps 1) isolated individuals to connect with their community, 2) to regain their social public sphere, 3) blend-in politics to their community. The first part of the paper explores how the Aboriginal culture and identity are now being shaped on Facebook in relation to Kendalls’s theory on community and Lumby’s Aboriginal interaction. The second part adheres on how the communities are using Facebook to expose their identity, obeying Oliver and Nguyen’s and Carlson et al.’s notion of online activity. The last part illustrates the manifestation of online activism in the Aboriginal community.

Cultural and Identity transmission through Facebook

Facebook can be seen as a channel to connect culture and identity with its communities. Despite living as free citizens in a country, the Aboriginal Australians often find themselves isolated as most of them live in remote areas from each other or some of them left for a life abroad. Nowadays the community can easily create their own groups via Facebook, drawing near their culture and identity. Kendall (2011) states that the definition varies from community to community, but there exist some similarities between them. Amongst a group of people, feeling of support, empathy, history, norms and shared values are common between each other, and these can be found in Facebook Aboriginal groups (Kendall, 2011; Petray, 2015; Oliver & Nguyen, 2017). For instance, those groups can be various “aboriginal dating” pages, it helps the community find their match according to their belief and history, “the Tasmanian aboriginal” group, whom their ancestors come from the Tasmanian region can connect and bond as a family. Communities within Facebook are able to share their intimacy and feelings with individuals they feel close to, as most of them have a connection with each other. Anchoring to the statement that Aboriginal Australians are given the freedom of interaction with people they choose to connect (Lumby, 2010; Petray, 2011; Oliver & Nguyen, 2017). These features may underline circumstances that aboriginal people are still suffering from their past. With the offered Facebook features, a community can react, share or comment on posts. For instance, the Aboriginal Australians have adapted their culture to these features by practising their “sorry business” online. The “sorry business” practise occurs when there is death in a family. Other acquaintances may be informed through the platform and vice versa. Besides, the community engages by means of offering condolences and grieving support to the family online itself. Another example, the Aboriginal community could be re-creating their third space which they had before the colonisation era. The third space could be defined as the metaphorical place created to learn specific belief or values (Potter & McDougall, 2017). Aboriginal communities have always supported equality in their small group during pre-colonisation (Avison & Meadows, 2000). In addition, Fraser (1993) mentioned that public spheres can be different from each other. Converging to the Aboriginal public sphere, individuals in the lower hierarchy, mainly young ones and women are given the chance to express themselves in their local groups. In contrast to Habernas (1974), who describes the public sphere as a place where individuals can raise their point of view on political structures. The Aboriginal Australian third space involves speaking in native language and receiving cultural education. Individuals are known to transmit the notion of Aboriginality through dialogues to each other. Through Facebook groups and messaging, an individual can be helped to form his/her native identity by simply interacting with other members, by raising discussions or consuming contents related to the subject. Having an identity online is seen as having the freedom, or choice over one’s life. This depicts how Aboriginals have freed themselves from the mainstream media.

Aboriginal public sphere on Facebook.

Facebook has helped communities like the Aboriginal Australians to voice out their online presence, on a global level. Online communities are provided with various tools to connect and communicate to the general public. As per Oliver & Nguyen (2017) tools such as live broadcast, Hashtags, sharing contents and posting opinions are some features that are provided. Individuals in the Aboriginal communities have always been good at listening to each other and expressing their opinions. Through Facebook they are empowered to share their culture, as well as throwing debatable solutions and discussing their backgrounds with non-Aboriginal people. These enable the community to regain their voice that have been silenced in the past (Meadows & Avison, 2000; Carlson et al., 2015). Using Hashtags on Facebook, Indigenous communities have made successful online campaigns, stacking up thousand posts on the Facebook database. Some examples of the popular Hashtags could be #aboriginal, #aboriginaldad #torrestrait. On these posts, aboriginal people share contents linked with their pride, social issues, culture, lifestyle, and artworks. With the hashtags feature, the community may expose misinterpreted messaged which the mainstream media has conveyed over the past years. Specifically showcasing their authentic standard of living on Facebook will educate other communities on aboriginal culture. In addition, this will build a cluster against all attacks targeting the Aboriginal communities. When more and more non-Aboriginal communities are getting educated on the topic, they will be able to discern the right direction and support the victims with campaigns. Significantly opposing movements will become hesitant to attack the Aboriginal communities through shame or any sort of white domination behaviours. As per Carlson et al. (2015), Aboriginal communities are also attacked through the cyberspace, meaning Facebook could be used as a tool further eradicate the community. Several posts have been targeting the Aboriginal community. An example can be the Bill Leak cartoon, the image portrayed the Aboriginal fathers as not being compassionate for their relatives. This image was said to be stereotyped by the white domination incurring shame and trauma to the Aboriginal fathers. This image was quickly repressed by mostly fathers of the Aboriginal community, taking pictures with their sons, showing a contradictory reality. Many shared their concerns with quotations, Hashtags representing they stand with the Aboriginal community and against racism in the country. This is known as “shared recognition”, described as an act of solidarity, displaying anger and frustration amongst the Aboriginal community when they are targeted with traumatic colonial events in a public sphere (Carlson et al., 2017). The “shared recognition” is known to help eradicate racism, understanding the opposition will still come up with traumatic positions against the community. Having an account on social media is not only about having access to information but also being part to contribute to a community. With Facebook, Aboriginal Australians are not only empowered but can also educate non-Aboriginals about their community, the optimal way to fight against racism. Through their posts, they find a voice and expose sufferings to a wider community, but also fight for their rights in their country.

Aboriginal Activism on Facebook

Aboriginal Australians have been encouraged to have in-community conversation and widen their speech to the public sphere through basic forms of activism via Facebook. The platform can be the vehicle that draws against Aboriginal politics; however, it can also bring possible changes in their favour if the Aboriginal community use it to their advantage. These can be done simply by supporting causes and promoting campaigns for political organisations, which lower the barriers into activism (Petray, 2015; Lilleker & Koc-Michalska, 2016). Sharing political issues and current events on Facebook generates a specific algorithm to reveal fresh news when users scroll the “news feed”. The aboriginal activist leader, Gary Foley uses social media to notify the public about politics and the society (Petray, 2011; Lilleker & Koc-Michalska, 2016). On the mainstream media, non-Aboriginal and government perspectives have always been favourited in comparison to Aboriginal perspectives, known to be ignored or excluded. An example could be foggy information communicated on the aboriginal detainee’s death fact (Bacon, 2005; Fforde et al., 2013). Aboriginal activism is now actively fighting for their rights and shedding light on injustice faced through Facebook and the social media. Dussart (2006), argues that platforms such as Facebook could be a challenge to the old mainstream media and the State which still favours “colonialism”. In terms of the Aboriginal Death fact suppressed by the media, the structure can be altered through organised groups and movements formed on online platforms. When Facebook users follow groups like “Lidia Thorpe”, an aboriginal senator in Victoria, Australia or “Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody” signifies inactive participation. Rice et al. (2016), suggests that through Facebook, Aboriginals Australians can have the opportunity to engage in civic activities and have the ambition to contribute to the country’s politics without falling in any barrier whether racially, socially, geographically or economically. An example could be the movement “Justice for Walker”, Walker aged 19-year-old of the Yuendumu community was murdered at his home by a police officer (Roberts, 2019). Right after the assassination, a public page was created on Facebook, generating nearly 10,000 followers on the platform. The page shared posters, videos and updates on crime case, obviously the page has encountered some racist comments and was hacked. Through the Facebook page, the movement raised more than $350,000 in donation from an Aboriginal council in the centre of Australia (Roberts, 2019) and many Aboriginal Australian also contributed their support as allies or being advocates for the young man. With regards to Facebook, it has brought like-minded people which includes non-Aboriginal Australians collectively supporting the community and wiping off discrimination, injustice and racism in their society.


In conclusion, having a limited access to Facebook due to location and economic issues, Aboriginal Australian have still persevered to raise their online presence. With the platform, they were able to connect with their community disregarding their location, mainly remote areas. Aboriginal Australians have adopted to practice their rituals and form their identity via Facebook while most of them are isolated. Not only were they participating in their own aboriginal community, but they were also able to voice out in the public sphere, exposing their identity and culture to non-Aboriginal people. Known as a population under threat of eradication in Australia due to their ethnicity, they are currently fighting against white domination. With Facebook, the community can challenge the mainstream media and even participate in activism and politics. Facebook is seen as a tool that can change the power dynamics making every citizen equal in the Australian system. The Aboriginal Australian community is a promising example how Facebook is changing the society.

Reference List:

Antonia, A. (2013). Democratising the digital divide: Civics and citizenship curriculum, Aboriginal communities and social media. Social Educator, 31(1), 35-42.;dn=206854;res=AEIPT

Avison, S., & Meadows, M. (2000). Speaking and Hearing: Aboriginal Newspapers and the Public Sphere in Canada and Australia. Canadian Journal Of Communication25(3).

Bacon, W. (2005). A case study in ethical failure: Twenty years of media coverage of Aboriginal deaths in custody. Pacific Journalism Review, 11, 17-41.;dn=123144714258609;res=IELHSS

Carlson, B. L., Farrelly, T., Frazer, R., & Borthwick, F. (2015). Mediating tragedy: Facebook, Aboriginal peoples and suicide. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 19(0).

Carlson, B., Jones, L., Harris, M., Quezada, N., & Frazer, R. (2017). Trauma, Shared Recognition and Indigenous Resistance on Social media. Australasian Journal Of Information Systems, 21.

Carlson, B. L., & Frazer, R. (2015). “It’s like going to a cemetery and lighting a candle”: Aboriginal Australians, sorry business and social media. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 11(3), 221-224.

Carlson, B., Jones, L., Harris, M., Quezada, N., & Frazer, R. (2017). Trauma, Shared Recognition and Indigenous Resistance on Social media. Australasian Journal Of Information Systems, 21.

Dussart, F. (2006). Media matters: Visual representations of Aboriginal Australia. Visual Anthropology Review, 21, 5-10.

Fforde, F., Bamblett, L., Lovett, R., Gorringe, S., & Fogarty, B. (2013). Discourse, deficit and identity: Aboriginality, the race paradigm and the language of representation in contemporary Australia. Media International Australia, 149, 162-173.;dn=740290503637500;res=IELLCC

Fraser, N. (1993). Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy. In B. Robbins (Ed.), The phantom public sphere (pp. 1-32). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Habermas, J. (1974). The public sphere: An encyclopedia article. New German Critique, 3, 29-35.\

Kendall, L. (2011). Community and the Internet. In M. Consalvo & C. Ess (Eds.), The Handbook of Internet Studies (1st ed., pp. 309-325). Wiley-Blackwell.

Lilleker, D. G., & Koc-Michalska, K. (2016). What drives political participation? Motivations and mobilisation in a digital age. Political Communication, 34(1), 21-43.

Lumby, B. (2010). Cyber-Indigeneity: Urban Indigenous Identity on Facebook. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 39(1), 68-75.

Oliver, R., & Nguyen, B. (2017). Translanguaging on Facebook: Exploring Australian Aboriginal multilingual competence in technology-enhanced environments and its pedagogical implications. Project Muse, 73(4), 463-487.

Petray, T. (2011). Protest 2.0: Online interactions and Aboriginal Activists. Media, Culture & Society, 33(6), 923-940.

Petray, T. (2015). Taking back voice: Indigenous social media activism. Australian Quarterly, 86(1), 24-27.;dn=20190516010446;res=AGISPT

Potter, J., & McDougall, J. (2017). Digital Media, Culture and Education.

Rice, E. S., Haynes, E., Royce, P., & Thompson, S. C. (2016). Social media and digital technology use among Indigenous young people in Australia: a literature review. International Journal for Equity in Health, 15(81), 1-16.

Roberts, L. (2019). NT police officer charged with murder, but what happens next?.

65 thoughts on “Aboriginal Australian Communities seek to bolster their culture and identity through Facebook.

  1. Hi Avneesh,

    I really enjoyed reading your article! I was not aware that Indigenous communities were using Facebook in order to form an online identity and connect with one another.

    In your research did you come across the article Love and hate at the Cultural Interface: Indigenous Australians and dating apps (Carlson, 2019)? I found its discussion of the way Indiginous Australians use dating apps and online identity performance really interesting.

    I was wondering whether you thought other social media platforms could be adopted in a similar way to create an identity?

    Carlson, B. (2020). Love and hate at the Cultural Interface: Indigenous Australians and dating apps. Journal of Sociology, 56(2), 133–150.

  2. Hi Avneesh,

    Thanks for this insightful read. You’ve clearly done your research and I congratulate you on a well formed argument and paper.

    Thanks, Coen

  3. Hello Avneesh, I hope you are doing well. I really enjoyed your paper. It is so rightly written and very much insightful. I love to learning about new stuff and I am glad that I have found your paper. Despite being labelled as “aboriginal”, often gives the idea of not ‘really’ accessing social media platform. I am glad that you have link this to Facebook. I have always love to learn about aboriginal people, because the way they holds importance to their land, health and culture are incredible. However, it has been found out that Even ‘being’ Aboriginal is often not enough, the community expects Aboriginal users to also ‘do’ Aboriginality (Korff, 2021), which means that there is pressure to prove their identity online, where personally I think this came from the blueprint of white supremacy and post-colonialism effects. In that lens, are aboriginal people still struggling to find a place in the society, or are they emerging as new medium of indigenous educators online?
    On the other side of the coin, I see a lot of ‘shamanic’ aboriginal people on social media platforms (on IG), personally, I do not agree with this trend of exposing to much of that side of their culture online, because at some point in time I myself, doubt their authenticity and culture.

    Amazing work!

    1. Hello Mageshwari,

      Thanks for your comment!
      Well, First of all, aboriginal people are still struggling to find a place in the society and through Facebook they are starting to emerge online. While being online, Aboriginal people are being more exposed to the racism abuse, hate or other types of discrimination that they were already suffering from. However, the social media platform does give the chance for Aboriginal communities to respond and create attention on their issues, in comparison to the mainstream media, which have always tried to cover up the Aboriginal community.

      Well that’s great to hear that you have encountered a lot of ‘shamanic’ contents online, Let me clarify your misunderstanding about the issue; 1) Aboriginal communities are not focussing primarily on obtaining fame for their culture. They are fighting against discriminations that I have listened above, by doing so, they have to share about their culture because so many false facts on Aboriginal people have been disclosed to the general public by the mainstream media.
      2) Aboriginal communities are primarily focussed on transcending their culture and identity to their members and not the general public. And they have always been discrete about their culture, thus engaging themselves in private chats or groups.

      And if you have ever encountered any of those ‘shamanic’ contents, please do analyse and try to understand if it is an issue that Aboriginal communities are trying to expose to the public, False news or trends by the mainstream media that are not related to the Aboriginal culture.

      If you are doubting yourself, then please have a look on those articles which depicts the Aboriginal communities reactions on social media:

      And here is an article that talks about the Aboriginal public sphere:
      Avison, S., & Meadows, M. (2000). Speaking and Hearing: Aboriginal Newspapers and the Public Sphere in Canada and Australia. Canadian Journal Of Communication, 25(3).
      This will help you understand the aim of the Aboriginal community online.

      Have a good reading!

  4. Hi Avneesh,
    It is heartening to note that your paper has extended our understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture.
    Thank you

  5. Hi Avneesh,
    I found your paper to be very insightful and informative and I certainly learnt a lot about the aboriginal Australian communities. I wasn’t aware of the Facebook groups in place for Aboriginal Australians so I found this very interesting.
    I also agree that facebook has allowed them to voice out as a community and has strengthened their identity. I think with a lot of communities, social media has allowed them to speak up and voice their opinions.
    Great paper!

  6. Hey Avneesh,
    I read and enjoyed your paper. It shows how social media, compared to the physical community we live in, is more inclusive. On social media, one can find their place unlike how discriminatory physical community can be in some cases. Aboriginals are viewed in a stereotypical way and due to social media platforms such as Facebook, now, these stereotypes are being removed.
    Do you think more can be done on other social media platforms as well as Facebook to fight this eradication of the Aboriginal community and if so, how?

    1. Hello Vejeta,

      Thanks for the comment.
      In response to your comment, Aboriginal users shuld first of all focus on exposing the discrimination and racism abuse towards them in their society through the social media, by creating shocking contents that will immediately hook the public attention. And the social media are already providing good algorithm formulae to spread news nation-wide or globally.
      Another key point to make sure their culture are not wiped off is by staying in touch with their members and sharing knowledge within their community itself. This could be achieved through the messenger app for instance, or having social interactions through games on the Facebook platform.
      This article can be a great help for you to understand the situation:

      Hope to hear from you soon.

      1. Hey Avneesh,
        I read the article and it was intuitive in several ways. Along with being a communication platform, it is also a platform for online advocacy. And several people from this community are using social media to advocate for their rights along with making sure that their culture stays protected on the virtual and physical community as well. Discrimination towards any community in general is usually advocated against on such open platform.
        Your points indeed are interesting. Social interaction as much as possible can educate people on the platform.

        1. Hello Vejeta,

          Yes Indeed!
          This can be concluded that Social media is pathing the way to an equal world where discrimination or physical abuse are to decrease drastically!

  7. Hi Avneesh!

    I thoroughly enjoyed your paper. Your research was extensive and poignant about the struggles Aboriginal Australian’s face within society. I also appreciated the neutrality you employed throughout the paper, allowing your research to support your well-rounded arguments. Minority groups, especially those that have been historically oppressed are beginning to harness technology to their advantage to strengthen their communities and your paper depicts that perfectly. I especially like your reference to Lidia Thorpe, who is a prominent Indigenous activist and is very active on social media.

    If I were to offer any constructive criticism it would be to always ensure the ‘A’ in Aboriginal is always uppercase.

    All in all, a great qualitative insight into the ways Aboriginal people have been adopting social media and technology to further culture within their communities.



  8. Hi Avneesh,

    Your paper is well-written and really interesting to read. I did not know that Aboriginal communities used social media like that. It is inspiring to see trying to raise their online presence, as you said, despite their financial issues and inconvenient location. I was especially interested by the whole “cultural and Identity transmission through Facebook” part. This is seriously how social media should be created for. Your paper got me interested in this topic. Thank you.

    1. Hello Munika,

      Thank you for your comment. Well social media especially are tools that are shaping our world and the future.
      As you have showed concerns about the Aboriginal communities, Here’s an interesting article that talks about the community and the public sphere.
      Avison, S., & Meadows, M. (2000). Speaking and Hearing: Aboriginal Newspapers and the Public Sphere in Canada and Australia. Canadian Journal Of Communication, 25(3).

      Do let me know your views and opinion.
      We have a conversation on the topic!


  9. Hi Avneesh!

    This paper has a very current and interesting topic which is so relevant in today’s Australian society. As you said, Aboriginal Australians for a long time had not been given the voice or platform that most white Australians have. Although the strong discrimination against these indigenous communities has been mostly eradicated, racism still exists in the country and using social media like Facebook is an excellent forum to bring communities together in a safe space without physical judgement or threat.

    I can tell this is very well-researched through the incredible number of examples and areas covered, from Aboriginal Australian dating apps to education to freedom of voice. You cleverly touch on almost every area these indigenous communities can come together on Facebook; political, social, and educational.

    You sustain a neutral voice throughout which is ideal in these conference papers, yet your opinion and stand comes across extremely clearly without making it informal. Amazing job!

    All in all, this is a very important and current issue that was given a rightful spotlight by yourself and has all the potential to reach even more people in indigenous communities who identify with these other communities to see how Facebook can assist them.

    My conference paper has a more basic and over-arching stand on how social media like TikTok impacts users’ sexuality expression, yet there are quite a few similarities in our discussion of communities and expression. I would appreciate your feedback on it if you would like to take a look.

    Thank you!
    – Rachelle

  10. hi,
    It is a very interesting article about the aboriginal people and how they are using facebook to voice out all the bad things that happen to them during all these time and yes i think that it is very important to talk about it!

  11. It’s the first time I’ve heard about the Aboriginal Australian communities and this paper is informative and interesting. It really drags my attention towards these communities.
    Also, they have been using Facebook as a means of communication and this definitely educate people about them and their culture.

  12. Hello Avneesh,
    Your paper is very informative and this has made me think more about the issues that the minorities are facing for their identities. Thankfully, as you mentioned, Facebook is allowing them to voice out and fight for their rights. I totally agree with one of the comments someone made in this section that a mutual respect must be maintained towards these communities.
    This blog talks more about why we should all educate a larger audience and care for the Aboriginal community ( ).
    However, do you think by building their presence online these minorities are receiving more hate online? Here is the link to my paper where I have explored how minorities are facing hate speech online.

    1. Hello Husraj,
      Thank you for the comment,
      In response to your question, Yes being online, results in more exposure to abuse and hate, however Aboriginal have had the facilities to fight back. By sharing posts and reacting to other’s point of view, The community has been able to prove these online hate wrong and showing others why these prejudice should end.
      This article explains how online hate targeting the Aboriginal community comes from “white dominions” states that were used before as a stereotype to describe non-white people:


  13. Hello Avneesh.

    This is such an intuitive paper on the Aboriginal Australian Communities as you’ve made a unique approach on the topic. This has bolstered my understanding even more concerning their culture and identity. It is so enriching to acknowledge a positive change being made towards the minorities. Like you’ve clearly referenced, Facebook has notably helped the Aborigines to voice their opinions on their native identity in order to make people more aware of their existence in this world. They should have all their rights to do so. I believe this equally forms part of the human rights to welcome a broader perspective on the Aboriginal communities and to open up more on such topic. Globally, people should develop a new essence of education around these subjects to further enhance their understanding that Aborigines form part of mankind and a level of mutual respect should be consciously maintained towards them.

    According to you, will Facebook continue to be an important evolving tool for Aborigines to make their culture and identity vastly recognised to the world?

    1. Hello Divesh,

      Thank your for your comment.
      In response to your question, Facebook has the capacity to make the Aboriginal culture famous instantly. But is this what the Aboriginal communities are aiming? the Aboriginal users are focussing to shed light on the discrimination and racism abuse towards them in their society and making sure that their culture are not wiped off by actually staying in touch with their members and sharing knowledge within their community itself.
      This article can be a great help for you to understand the situation:


  14. hello Avneesh,
    Excellent article very well written and clear to understand. I really like the way you explain how social media has been a source of empowerment for minorities, especially aborigines.
    However, for me i feel that social media is both a blessing and a curse, let me explain. Taking Native Americans for example, it is technology that has been one of the factors that alienate young Native Americans from their culture by portraying a better way of life in the “outside world” compared to their traditional ones. Social media can also dissolve the authenticity of some cultures by using their tradition as a way to profit from tourism, but these are just facades and no longer live according to it.
    Looking forward for your response. In that note, great article I enjoyed reading it.

    1. Hello Yovan,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes I agree to your point that social media can be both a blessing and a curse, However in relations to the Aboriginal community, regionally speaking they are mostly isolated which makes them hard to meet physically, and some may be living abroad. And to make sure they stay in touch with their culture and identity, they are constantly keeping in touch with other members in their community.
      This articles proves how Facebook is not destroying the Aboriginal culture but making sure it is in place,

      Coming to your point that social media may be using their culture to boost up tourism, Aboriginal users, are purposely active on social media to fight discrimination and racism against their community. In consideration to your tourism matter, this may be done by travel agencies but not by the community or the social media platform itself.
      Here is an article that helps you to understand that Aboriginal community are not used as a way to profit from tourism:


  15. Hi Kaushal,
    Thank you for choosing a stream that I think is quite under-rated. Reading this paper actually made me more self-conscious about the aboriginal people. Despite being a social media user for many years, I did not have any single clue about aboriginal Australians forming a community on Facebook to connect with isolated people, regain their stature and blend in as well. That was well written and quite well analyzed.
    However as said before, I did not have any single clue on Aboriginal people being on Facebook. According to you, how could them be more present, that is spread awareness and try to form a name for themselves on this platform?

    1. Hello Temul,

      Thanks for your comment.
      In response to your question, Aboriginal Facebook users may use the platform’s paid option to spread their awareness, or even use Marketing strategies to spread their popularity globally.

      However, it could be discussed that Aboriginal communities do not want to make a name for themselves, they are more after recognition in their country and fighting against discrimination towards their society. It could be a good thing that others from around the world are witnessing such an issue. But their fight are against a mindset, which can “invisible” to our eyes. And this will happen eventually when their society accepts that injustice are being done to a particular community. In the same way George Floyd’s video got viral, no one had to spread awareness. The video was organically shared within the society from peer to peer use, and people decided they had to make a change and were tired of injustice. In the same way, Aboriginal people are expected to find a light to their issue using social media.

  16. Hi Avneesh,
    I really liked your paper, I learned and discovered new things while going through it.
    With digitization we have lost many valuable resources in terms of culture and knowledge. When we observe how Aboriginal Australians are embracing the digital era it makes us understand that everything must be adapted into the digital format. Social media platforms are powerful tools to such communities, what would recommend to the Aboriginal community to better integrate and adapt with the digital era? For example, they must be aware of new community tools, audience, engagement tracking, etc…

    1. Helllo Ignesh,

      Thank you for the comment.
      As I have mentioned in the paper, Aboriginal communities are using Facebook to expose their culture and Identity, and instead of being a victim of losing knowledge in culture, they are using Facebook as the tool to gain knowledge from other members in their community as well as practising their rituals online.

      Have a look on this article which clearly explains how Aboriginal people are taking benefits out of Facebook:

      In relations to using Facebook community tools as you mentioned, Facebook does provide an easy to use platform which is well optimised for their users, as well as explanations on how to use its features. However if one has difficulties to launch campaigns and more, they may contact a social media consultant who would do the work for them.
      This is one of the many Aboriginal pages that are the platform to its maximum potential:

      If you have any questions concerning the topic, let me know.


  17. Nicely written and captivating article. Important points are carefully elaborated and supported with relevant research material. The author stresses on how social media is a welcome alternative compared to conventional mass media – often portraying biased views, for the aboriginal community which has been widely dispersed across Australia for decades. Many of them have lost contact with their families and culture. Through this paper, the reader discovers how Facebook – a leading platform in social media is bringing hope for the members of the indigenous community by allowing them to freely vehiculate their issues and feelings, transmitting their culture and rituals via live videos, bringing the community together and encouraging a sense of activism amongst the younger generations for the betterment of theirs in the future.

    The article acknowledges that these initiatives are being met with massive positive responses from the members of the indigenous community. But on the other side one rhetorical question could be: Is Facebook doing enough to protect members of the indigenous community from discriminatory reactions from the part of people with other cultures?

    To a substantial extent, the protective measures are bearing positive results since the number of Aborigines using the platform are increasing but, there is still room for improvement as online abuse is still a current thing. A suggestion could be to carry out massive and recurring social media campaigns reiterating the need for peaceful and constructive exchanges between Aborigines and people with other cultures.

    Excellent work from the author.

    1. Hello Daren,

      Thank you for your comment.
      To answer your questions, Well Facebook does not directly deal with discriminatory except if a number of users have reported a case. However, Facebook does allow a freedom of expression to everyone. That is, to counter any racial or discriminatory actions against the Aboriginal community, people may launch campaigns. While launching campaigns on Facebook, it makes sure that they are equally distributed in the country or across the globe whereas certain cases in the mainstream media, where there has been cover ups when Aboriginal communities have tried to voice out.

      Here’s a Perfect example how Aboriginal Australian are using Facebook to their advantage:

      And an article link that will help you to clarify your doubts of Facebook benefitting the Aboriginal Community:


  18. Hi Avneesh – Your paper was an interesting read. I didn’t realise that Indigenous Australians used FB for their sorry business practices and I can imagine this is a huge source of comfort for friends and family who are separated from their loved ones during sad times. One suggestion from me is that I think you could have expanded further on how significant sorry business practices are to Indigenous Australian communities and how they use FB in the wider grieving process.

    One point in your paper which I think should be corrected is that you note “The Aboriginal Australian communities have endured concerning social injustice over the past hundred years”, I think this should be, “for over 200 years”.

    Good job!

    1. Hi Katherine,

      Well thank you for the comment.
      Due to the word limit I had to hold back a bit. But here is a good website if you want to learn about the sorry business:

      As you feel concerned about the sorry business, what do you think can be implemented on the online platform that would actually help the community feel connected during their grievance?

      1. That’s a great link – thanks for sharing. As I’m not an Indigenous Australian I can’t comment on what would help the community feel connected during their mourning period. I did find this article which I thought was a great insight into how social media is used for Sorry Business >>

        1. Hello Katherine,
          Thanks for sharing, yep the article does depict how Aboriginal Australians use social media to participate in their rituals such as the “sorry business”. It also carries interviews from the community, these are great to spread concern to a general audience. Other members can feel and understand the emotions of the family in sorrow and offer condolences.
          It can be concluded that Aboriginal people known to be isolated, are using social media to carry out their rituals without any physical barriers.

  19. Hi Peedoly,
    I did not know aboriginal communities utilized social media for communication to the world. A community can share react on posts. I never knew Facebook was utilized in such manner. Good reading man.

    1. Hello Bissessur,

      Well first of all thank you for the comment.
      I would appreciate if you could tell me to which idea on the paper were you most connected. We could have a deeper conversation on it.

      Awaiting your reply.

  20. It really stuck out to me that less than 50% of people in remote Aboriginal communities have access to their own technological devices. Your paper does a good job of demonstrating how social media can benefit Aboriginal Australians, yet so many still lack access to this type of connection. It makes me wonder how we could increase access to smartphones/computers within remote Indigenous communities. It’s very easy to forget that having access to these items is actually a privilege that many people go without.

    1. Hey Silas,

      Thanks for the reply.
      With the rapid technological improvement, I am sure each and every individual will have access to the internet in a matter of years.
      What do you think?

      1. Apologies for the late response, Avneesh. While I would really like to believe that we will all have consistent access to the Internet in the foreseeable future, I personally doubt that it’s possible. There are just such huge gaps in wealth and access to resources between various social groups. Unfortunately, I don’t think these discrepancies are going to be properly addressed and rectified any time soon. One of the resources people have unequal access to is the Internet, and I think this problem is likely to persist both globally and locally.

  21. Hello Avneesh,

    A very interesting article discussing the use of Facebook culture in Aboriginal communities. I think the use and availability of Facebook in communities where it has been hard to come by previously is such a great benefit as people are able to connect with relatives and share stories of their culture. The use of Facebook in connecting with relatives is extremely important within Indigenous communities as many family members are so widely dispersed across Australia these days.

    In regards to your comments about the activism and calling out users on Facebook over Indigenous issues, do you think that on the flip side communities who have gone without Facebook for so long and have mostly kept to themselves have now allowed themselves to be open to racism and other content which may have a negative impact on a community?


    1. Hello William,

      Thanks for your response.
      I believe that if a community has suffered from those issues that you mentioned, there would have been a presence of hurt, shame or fear that made the people stay silent and not voice out. There was a time prior to Facebook where the community had to take in all the sufferings as they did not have such tools to voice out. Also, those who were in power used force and violence to silence them. It definitely has a negative impact on the community as they are not exposing their indigeneity in the society.

  22. A nicely written article while focusing a lot on the bright side of things. Many of the highly optimistic views can be seen in a different light thus exploring these harsh realities would provide a more critical view. It does feel one sided.

    I think the research does depict how social network functions in general and more creative angles could have been explored. For example, what are the different groups, existing organizations/associations/movement that started/began because of a particular event or situation. (It is sad that real events were kept to a minimum.) Other angles: online spies and intruders and techniques to protect the members, tackling rumors and false cultural bias, being more visible makes you a better target thus the rise of greater opposition and oppression, how these platforms help to change the constitution/laws in favor of the weak, raising awareness etc..

    Hope I was not too harsh in the critics.

    You kept it simple and sweet. So it was a pleasant reading before sleeping. ☺️

    1. Hello Kiran,

      Thanks for the reply. It is a pleasure if this piece has help you understand the harsh realities of the Aboriginal community.
      I had to stick with my argument in order not to make the paper stand on a neutral point of view.
      As you mentioned about the issue of spies and intruders on Facebook groups. Yes, it has happened on multiple occasions where other users tried to invoke shame and fear through racist posts to the Aboriginal people. However, According to Lumby (2010), Facebook does provide temporary features such as blocking or reporting the users. But this is still insufficient to eradicate the colonialism mindset.

      If you want, you can have a deeper look on the article:
      Lumby, B. (2010). Cyber-Indigeneity: Urban Indigenous Identity on Facebook. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 39(1), 68-75.

      Your criticisms are welcomed.

      Waiting for your response.

  23. I had my view enlarged regarding Facebook community use as this article showed me a real-life scenario of online community groups being really useful. Having often a limited (biased) sense of the platform’s usage based on our own usage, this article showed me that what I thought had no great value for me is of great value for others. Here, for instance, the Australian Aboriginals. I think this applies to any minority group can find themselves the ideal platform to communicate now and those platforms (here Facebook) really aids to make the voice of the unheard be heard.

    An example of good practices for Facebook community would be for the Australian Aboriginal to use job search , job posting for their community. Another might be to create talent search. Or business incubators etc.

    I simply hope that unlike speed consumerism that Facebook do produce, and the diminishing attention span it produces ,that users will not scroll over quickly important messages from minority groups.

    There can arise a danger when the platform means are abused. That is, people mistakingly give credits to posts contents as valid publishing articles. Lots of fake and deep fake news out there. Lots of misleading news as well as. All this can eventually throw more oil on the injustice flame the Aboriginal community are victim of. I am not sure, Facebook users , in general, are discerning in terms of news validity and fact checking. I find this evil usage of Facebook a great threat. By the same token that Facebook as a tool rightly used can be of great help, by the same token, when wrongly used can bring great trouble.

    In the end, I think we need to put the emphasis here; that Facebook and the likes, as platforms, are only tools to be rightly used, not the solution.

    1. Hello Mevin,

      Thank you for your response.
      I agree with your points. I would like to comment on the fact that you mention about validity of the posts and fact checking. This is a very important concern, as per Lumby (2010), Facebook users are faking or hiding their indigeneity. This may disturb their cultural advancement on the platform. Lumby (2010), also claims that Facebook is not only about displaying your identity, but proving that you are of a particular community is also necessary. However, Facebook provides surveillance features that may help one to choose who to communicate with. Those are the well “add friend”, “unfriend” or blocking features where you can take action if ever some users are exceeding the limit. Also in groups, where Aboriginals are known to be active, the admin has the right to accept your membership in the group if it is proven that you correspond to their selection process. If ever users create a havoc in those groups, other users have options to report their misbehaviours through Facebook’s moderating policy. We come across these features on a daily basis but never had the idea how important it is to bind a community together.

      Here is Lumby’s article if you want to know more about surveillance on the Facebook platform:
      Lumby, B. (2010). Cyber-Indigeneity: Urban Indigenous Identity on Facebook. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 39(1), 68-75.

  24. Hi Avneesh, Thank you for this awesome work. There are many useful information included. While doing some research I did come across certain things, but here you have explained it better. Facebook is being used by Aboriginal people as a tool for them to connect to the world.
    The flow in the paper allows me as a reader to be connected to what the idea behind is.

    1. Hello Chitrakshi,

      Thank you for your comment.
      I would appreciate if you could answer which part of the paper got you connected so that we may have an in depth conversation on the topic.

      Looking to hear from you soon!

  25. Hi Avneesh

    You wrote an interesting paper and it is through such papers that we discover things we often not aware of as in your case the aboriginal people of Australia. When I think about community I would imagine an offline space where these individuals would come together even in small groups like you or me would experience in our neighborhood (prior digital technology). However, because our neighborhood has a diverse range of cultures that feeling of belonging (which links to identity) may not be ever-present for the aboriginals and similar peoples. This is where technology like Facebook shines (as you have mentioned) which removes the distance/barriers. So it is great to know that Facebook can be used as a medium where this community can come together.

    I would encourage you to explore the public sphere in more detail. As I understand in times past prior to communication media like newspaper, television the public sphere (which was a space within the market place where the people came to discuss and debate), was a space where perhaps the aboriginal peoples of Australia could voice out their opinions, or a representative voicing the opinions of the people. When we consider how newspapers, television, and radio were later used to communicate information, we do note that this was a one-way communication model. These mediums did not allow for participation when we compare it to the public sphere being the marketplace. So it would be interesting to see how these people could voice their opinion and what other methods may have been used (if any) during this time to understand how the community was kept alive and then compare and contrast with digital tech like Facebook that amplifies the sense of community.

    1. Hello Tyrone,

      Yes you are right, This is what I was trying to convey in my paper. Due to the one-way communication, The Aboriginal community have had a suffering past from racism and other white denomination acts. However, Meadows & Avison (2000) discussed how the existence of an aboriginal public sphere which was different to Habermas’s definition of the public sphere. It is describe as a site where “collective self-determination” would take place. Considering the Aboriginal people do highly pay regards to the realization of social equality. Their public sphere were often broken into smaller groups to make sure each member had the chance to voice out in council.

      I would encourage you to have a view on this paper:
      Avison, S., & Meadows, M. (2000). Speaking and Hearing: Aboriginal Newspapers and the Public Sphere in Canada and Australia. Canadian Journal Of Communication, 25(3).

      Hope to hear from you soon!

      1. Hi Avneesh, thank you for the recommendation to read the article by Avison and Meadows. The authors do bring an important point to light in that the aboriginal people used oral communication and when print came into being they could no longer negotiate their position. This is sad but it also bring to light a situation present in Mauritius which is the Creole people. As I understand their communication method is also oral. They too are excluded from the public sphere as they are not able to participate.

        Maybe for us in this day and age speaking, reading and writing is a normal act, but like the aboriginals and creole people, if you could only communicate orally, that means if information disseminated in the public sphere in written format, it meant those who could not read nor write where excluded. So it is understandable why there was a need to have an aboriginal public sphere which could debate issues in the oral sense but then selected individuals would present these case in the larger public sphere.

        In closing, this does bring to mind why religious groups have their own public sphere where they are able to discuss among themselves but then further present their issues in the larger public sphere. In this case, the religious groups were able to negotiate because of literacy and through the generations were able to grow stronger, whereas the aboriginal peoples’ position was weakened due to that lack.

        Thank you again for bringing to light this information. It is quite interesting to consider that a public sphere is in essence made up of smaller publics sphere, much like countries of the world who gather on a world stage to negotiate their position but too have their countries public sphere issues.

        1. Hello Tyrone,

          Considering the oral sense of communication, nowadays many illiterate people are seen to have the knowledge of using a mobile phone and surfing on the web, could it be that the Facebook platform is well-designed that anybody can have the roam on the interface? Well yes, Facebook can be easy to surf and basic words are used. And how are they able to chat and have conversations? well chatting is not the same as writing an essay, abbreviations, slangs, mistyped words form part of chatting and typing errors are not considered as a big deal. And the users can have calls, not only 1-1 person calls, but group calls, meaning users to do not have to have any knowledge of writing or reading. Receiving c all can be as easy as swiping a green icon. Nowadays, communicating orally could disseminate the same amount of information as writing. Coming to your point, now “elders” being the most respectable and the least literate in the community can participate easily in the online public spheres through Facebook facilities. Lately, Facebook is seen as “Application of old people”, observing a growth in elderly users on the platform.

          Yes, I believe Religious people had the chance to step up as they were literate to an extent. Not forgetting that they were backed with political figures, as religion humbled a society to listen to their leader, and this was seen as an asset to politics to be able to exert control.
          It could also be noted that not only Aboriginal & religions, but contemporary communities such as gaming, artists, and fans have built their own community through Facebook.

          Thank you for your comment and your concerns on the communities.

  26. Hello Kaushal,
    Interesting topic, I really like reading about Aboriginal Australians. One thing to note is that the aborigines are forced to use Facebook platform as a way to voice out their issues. Thus, Facebook is the most popular platform where a person can communicate to their closed ones and share their feelings about what the alarming issue happening in Australia. I believe Facebook is used by a plethora of people in the entire world where those aborigines can easily find help through those people. They have all their rights to fight for their privilege. We are in 2021, where the world has evolved which derives no right to discriminate between other people, we are all the same but from different countries. Thank you very much Kaushal for implementing such type of paper which has notably enlighten my mind more fully on your topic. Well done!

    1. Hello Tiloshna,

      Thank you for the Feedback.
      You are right! the platform has helped the community to re-bond in their native circle. As per The Common Ground Team (2021), the Aboriginal community are claiming to be the “First People of Australia” and disagree with the fact they should be called Aborigine or indigenous.
      Let me know what you think upon this discussion.

      Hope to hear from you soon.

      1. Thank you Avneesh for this article, it has surely enlighten my knowledge. Yes they need to have all their rights!

  27. Hello Avneesh!
    Well I’ve really found your article enriching and informative. Honestly I’ve known about Aboriginal Communities briefly but was not aware about their use of Facebook. Also, like you have mentioned Facebook has allowed them to voice out as a community and has strengthened their identity! For sure this could apply for any community to build up their voice and identity online where it can change the stereotypical view that one have on them. Educating people about their cultures and values.

  28. The written piece is really informative and interesting. What makes it more interesting is he fact that it really make the reader feel like they are learning something new and refreshing. It was interesting, a field of study that has not been explored before, as per my knowledge. There was a flow in the information given and it did make me invest time and attention to it.

    The author further elaborates on a mentioned point by providing an interesting fact. An example,
    For instance, the Aboriginal Australians have adapted their culture to these features by practising their “sorry business” online. The “sorry business” practise occurs when there is death in a family.

    The best touch is the unique idea and the angle in which the writer chose to write about it.

  29. This was extremely instructive. I have read a lot about the Aboriginal Communities but never knew they were using social media in this way. Thank you for the read!

    1. Hello Shaheen, it was a pleasure to hear from your point of view.
      Here you can find an interesting article about the Aboriginal community on social media,

      Let me know what you think.
      Good reading!

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