Social Question

digitalimpression's avatar

During times of riot/etc should they block twitter and other social software?

Asked by digitalimpression (9895 points ) December 24th, 2011

There was discussion of doing so. Isn’t that crazy?

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6 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

It depends on the repressiveness of the régime in power and how widespread is the dissatisfaction with it. In Syria, it’s probably necessary to keep a majority of the population from coalescing and throwing out the Assad régime once and for all. In Britain, there’s still a majority of people who, while they may not love the government, aren’t looking to overthrow it, either.

judochop's avatar

No they should not. Twitter and Facebook, Reddit, Huffington, etc..Have been a blessing and helping keep the actual big media in check a little bit. It has dissolved the opportunity to fabricate an entire story. Blocking social networking sites might help with hysteria but frankly I want to know if someone just saw 100 giant rockets flying West.
Knowledge is power and luck favors the prepared.

wundayatta's avatar

Only if they want to create a worse problem.

filmfann's avatar

Anyone who has studied the Art of War should know that in most military actions, you first sieze their ablity to communicate. Radio stations, telephone company hubs… This falls into line with that.

Bellatrix's avatar

Well they did in Egypt

Syria has also blocked the internet for periods of time and Wordpress sites and the like.

I am not a computer expert so I don’t know how easy it was/is for protesters to circumnavigate these bans. I think in Egypt they also shut down the telephone network at least for a time.

@filmfann is right though, this is pretty standard fair. Try to shut down or control communication. An argument for not blocking such sites means if the authorities can monitor traffic on Twitter and Facebook etc., they may have a clearer sense of what is coming.

From a democratic perspective though, no. They shouldn’t. When considering countries like Egypt and Syria etc. we aren’t talking about democracies, so what should happen by our standards doesn’t really matter.

There are/were moves to bring in an Internet filter. The argument is it would only be used to stop child porn and the like. In truth though a lot of pornographic material is not trafficked through the websites this filter would target. It would be very easy for a government to use this filter to shut down websites it didn’t like. All sorts of censorship debates have been happening here about whether such a filter should be implemented. I don’t for one second think they are considering blocking Twitter or Facebook. However, lists that have been leaked about websites that would be targeted show there are websites on the block list that are not of any threat to the government or have nothing to do with child porn.

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