Tuesday, November 26, 2013

When countries block social media...

The term "Twitter revolution" became widely known after the Arab Spring but not many people are aware that it was first used during the 2009 Moldova unrest. After these events many leadership of some countries started to see "foreign-owned" social media websites as a serious threat to their national security. It seems to be that the more authoritarian the country, the more there is a probability of blocking social media websites or at least some of them. 

Photo by: compujeramey
Initiatives as Open Net Initiative constantly monitor the situation with countries that restrict access to social media websites.  China is known to block most of the popular social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, but on the other hand Chinese government extensively uses the in-house social media to communicate with its citizens. Unfortunately, other countries don't have the same technology or political will to directly engage in discussion with civil society. It did not take long time to report that the recent news about Iran unblocking social media was just a technical glitch and Iranians were again deprived of Facebook and Twitter.  
Photo by: OpenNet Initiative
There are different reasons why these countries try to restrict access to information. Some are afraid of opposition using social media to organize demonstrations, some want to isolate their citizen of outside world and its influence. Nevertheless, in a post-cold-war world  of modern technologies all these attempts of different governments are faced with resistance of online activists. Due to such technologies as anonymizers or anonymous proxies, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)  and such projects as TorProject there always be a way for people to get connected to the rest of the world.  

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