Skip to Content
Uncategorized

From Online to On the Streets

June 21, 2011

Clearly, authoritarian regimes feel they have something to fear from social networks. Internet censorship has become almost synonymous with blocking open access to sites like Twitter and Facebook; regimes either shut off access during periods of social unrest or ban certain services permanently. Reporters Without Borders, a nonprofit that advocates for international press freedom, maintains a list of the most censorship-prone nations, indicated here in blue. Some of these countries, such as Syria and Iran, have already experienced protests in which social networks have played a role, while others, such as Cuba, appear to be limiting access on general principles.

Nonetheless, in many cases protesters have been able to bypass censorship. That’s happened in Egypt and Tunisia, two countries Reporters Without Borders had previously listed as among the most restrictive.

Would the popular revolutions occurring throughout the Middle East have happened without social-networking websites? Researchers will probably be debating that question for years, but there is no doubt the social networks have proved vital to organizing mass protests and to documenting the often brutal tactics of repressive regimes, thereby galvanizing both local and global support for the revolutionaries’ cause.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

How scientists traced a mysterious covid case back to six toilets

When wastewater surveillance turns into a hunt for a single infected individual, the ethics get tricky.

It’s time to retire the term “user”

The proliferation of AI means we need a new word.

The problem with plug-in hybrids? Their drivers.

Plug-in hybrids are often sold as a transition to EVs, but new data from Europe shows we’re still underestimating the emissions they produce.

Sam Altman says helpful agents are poised to become AI’s killer function

Open AI’s CEO says we won’t need new hardware or lots more training data to get there.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.