Egypt

An interesting information policy has arisen in Egypt.  All communication via twitter has been stopped (while twitter API still works).

I’m reading a TechCrunch article in which they state Twitter has been blocked in Egypt. It adds “Increasingly, social media is playing an important role in organizing and broadcasting protests against governments around the world. Unlike television or newspapers, Twitter and Facebook are not so easy to control other than blocking them entirely because of their distributed nature. By the time a regime realizes its only option is to block a service like Twitter, the protests are usually already well under way. And reports keep coming out via these channels anyway, making them the most immediate way to watch the protests (and sometimes subsequent uprisings) unfold. The reports may not always be accurate right away (confusing rubber bullets for “live ammunition,” for instance, but they tend to self-correct quickly.”

It has turned out that while the government can block Twitter and it’s mobile site, the API sites that seamlessly work with Twitter are all still fine (and too numerous to realistically block). As I think about the last classes discussion on information policy, it is clearly governmental censorship and distributive flow in Egypt.

You can watch video of the protests on Facebook and Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtTUsqra-MU.

What an interesting world we now live in.  Where Social Media organizes the masses and spreads the word of atrocities being carried out.  The days of isolating people are quickly coming to a close and the rise of information to the people is coming to the fore.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Egypt

  1. The whole thing kinda scares me, but a good balancing point is Evgeny Morozov’s “The Net Delusion.” (I hate the title, though)

    Twitter certainly makes information flow faster, but it is worth pondering that fast and open information channels are often a problem as they are an advantage.

  2. In information policy we discuss controlling unintended consequences. You are correct that fast and open can present problems. The overall question is whether open and fast is better than closed and slow.

  3. Policy depends on the context and the intended consequences as well. Twitter was hailed as the hero in the “Green Revolution” here in the states, which so far hasn’t shown much staying power in the Iran. I’m in agreement with Morozov’s point that in the fomenting of revolution, something more socially substantive will be the key to long-term change. I’m not going to blame Twitter or any social networking, but I think it’s kinda hyped.

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