Fartashphoto's Blog

That’s why dictators hate Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on September 25, 2010

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read messages with a 140-character limit. Twitter was thrust to the fore of international politics during the contested 2009 Iranian elections. During the huge protests that followed, the site played a pivotal role in mobilising protesters and facilitated a direct line of communication between demonstrators, news outlets and engaged people around the world. Maintaining its service in the face of a totalitarian regime, Twitter demonstrated how social networking can have a direct impact on the world stage.

Twitter was used as a powerful tool in protecting free expression in the UK when solicitors Carter-Ruck, acting on behalf of Trafigura, the multi-national oil company, tried to prevent the press from publishing details of a parliamentary question about a report into the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. Within hours ‘#trafigura’ and ‘#carterruck’ were the site’s most popular topics.

In Venezuela the catalyst behind most of these protests is, of course, Twitter, which anti-Chavez activists have used to organize demonstrations and to spread their cause internationally. Dissidents have also taken to Facebook, where a group titled “Chavez esta PONCHAO!” (“Chavez, you struck out!”) is already 80,000 members strong. Chavez, not surprisingly has already “launched an army of Twitter users to bring down online networks and try to infiltrate student groups.”

A Haitian radio host who used Twitter to inform the world about the earthquake which ravaged his country was among the users of the micro-blogging service honored at a ceremony.

“I dedicate this to my country Haiti,” said Carel Pedre after receiving a special “humanitarian” award at the second annual “Shorty Awards” in New York, an event which recognize excellence on Twitter.

“May we continue to use Twitter to save lives and change the world,” said Pedre, who “tweets” as @carelpedre.

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