| As the embattled government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appears to be trying to limit Internet access and communications in Iran, new kinds of social media are challenging those traditional levers of state media control and allowing Iranians to find novel ways around the restrictions. |
Iranians are blogging, posting to Facebook and, most visibly, coordinating their protests on Twitter, the messaging service. Their activity has increased, not decreased, since the presidential election on Friday and ensuing attempts by the government to restrict or censor their online communications.
On Twitter, reports and links to photos from a peaceful mass march through Tehran on Monday, along with accounts of street fighting and casualties around the country, have become the most popular topic on the service worldwide, according to Twitter’s published statistics.
A couple of Twitter feeds have become virtual media offices for the supporters of the leading opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi. One feed, mousavi1388 (1388 is the year in the Persian calendar), is filled with news of protests and exhortations to keep up the fight, in Persian and in English. It has more than 7,000 followers.
Mr. Moussavi’s fan group on Facebook has swelled to over 50,000 members, a significant increase since election day.
Labeling such seemingly spontaneous antigovernment demonstrations a “Twitter Revolution” has already become something of a cliché. That title had been given to the protests in Moldova in April.
But Twitter is aware of the power of its service. Acknowledging its role on the global stage, the San Francisco-based company said Monday that it was delaying a planned shutdown for maintenance for a day, citing “the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran.”
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Social Networks helping Iranian Defiance Online
The drive to be heard and counted in a fraud Iranian election will be twittered...among other things.