February 28, 2011

MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT and an Internet tipping point. “Social media sites have played a huge role in the prodemocracy surge—but states have also been very good at using technology to suppress their people.”

That reminded me of this, from an item on China I linked last night:

In addition, the regime directed a number of employees (the so called “fifty cent party,” named for the amount of money they receive for each pro-regime Internet posting) to register with Twitter; these individuals immediately began cranking out posts denouncing the “Jasmine Revolution” as illegal and claiming it was a secret plot by the United States. Search terms related to the “Jasmine Rallies,” including the word “Jasmine” itself, were rapidly banned from Chinese websites. Ironically, “Jasmine” is the name of a Chinese folk song that was a favorite of Jiang Zemin, and was publicly sung by Hu Jintao, meaning that censorship of the word also wiped out “patriotic” posts meant to praise CCP leaders.

All this, and many other repressive measures both in cyberspace and the real world, took place before the first actual rallies.

Luckily, nothing like this could ever happen here.