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Facebook Revolutions – How social media really support democratic revolutions
 

Facebook Revolutions – How social media really support democratic revolutions

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Presentation by Toni Crisolli on events in Tunisia during Arab Spring Revolution 2010. Inspired by contributions during #fbrev online conference by @VirtuelleAkademie and FNF. English Version.

Presentation by Toni Crisolli on events in Tunisia during Arab Spring Revolution 2010. Inspired by contributions during #fbrev online conference by @VirtuelleAkademie and FNF. English Version.

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  • Iran is a highly computer-literate society with a large number of bloggers and hackers. The hackers in particular were active in helping keep channels open as the regime blocked them, and they spread the word about functioning proxy portals. Hackers also reportedly took down Mr. Ahmadinejad's Web site in an act of cyberdisobedience. The immediacy of the reports was gripping. Well-developed Twitter lists showed a constant stream of situation updates and links to photos and videos, all of which painted a portrait of the developing turmoil. Digital photos and videos proliferated and were picked up and reported in countless external sources safe from the regime's Net crackdown. Eventually the regime started taking down these sources, and the e-dissidents shifted to e-mail. The only way to completely block the flow of Internet information would have been to take the entire country offline, a move the regime apparently has resisted thus far.
  • Iran is a highly computer-literate society with a large number of bloggers and hackers. The hackers in particular were active in helping keep channels open as the regime blocked them, and they spread the word about functioning proxy portals. Hackers also reportedly took down Mr. Ahmadinejad's Web site in an act of cyberdisobedience. The immediacy of the reports was gripping. Well-developed Twitter lists showed a constant stream of situation updates and links to photos and videos, all of which painted a portrait of the developing turmoil. Digital photos and videos proliferated and were picked up and reported in countless external sources safe from the regime's Net crackdown. Eventually the regime started taking down these sources, and the e-dissidents shifted to e-mail. The only way to completely block the flow of Internet information would have been to take the entire country offline, a move the regime apparently has resisted thus far.
  • On 15 June 2009, while thousands of Iranians were streaming on to the streets of Tehran to protest against the disputed results of the presidential election, Jared Cohen, an official in the US state department, quietly sent an email to Twitter. Despite coming from the youngest member of America's foreign policy arm – Cohen was just 27 at the time – it was surprisingly serious. Cohen wrote that, in the view of the Obama administration, Twitter was playing a crucial role in Iran as a way for protesters to communicate. He implored the social networking site to delay routine maintenance work it had planned for the following day that would have brought down all its feeds in Iran and possibly disrupted the organisation of the protests. Twitter complied, putting off the maintenance for 24 hours, thus allowing the flow of tweets to continue uninterrputed. The demonstrations grew and grew.At face value the exchange was harmless – an example of government and business working together to forward America's interests abroad. But in the eyes of one scholar, this apparently benign interaction was to have powerfu, unforeseen consequences. In EvgenyMorozov's analysis, Cohen's email set a dangerous precedent, convincing the Iranian leadership, and many other authoritarian regimes around the world, that the US government was in cahoots with Silicon Valley and that the internet was being turned into an extension of politics by other means.
  • EvgenyMorozov is the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. Morozov is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation. He is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy and Boston Review. He was formerly a Yahoo! fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and a fellow at George Soros's Open Society Institute, where he remains on the board of the Information Program. Before moving to the US, Morozov was Director of New Media at Transitions Online, a Prague-based media development NGO active in 29 countries of the former Soviet bloc.

Facebook Revolutions – How social media really support democratic revolutions Facebook Revolutions – How social media really support democratic revolutions Presentation Transcript

  • Facebook Revolutions – How social media really support democratic revolutions
    Toni Richard Crisolli, 24.09.2011
  • Pokret Arapsko proleće u Zapadnoj Africi
    Uloga socijalnih medija
  • How the
    “epidemic” spread”:
    Patient ZERO - Tunisia
    Ben Ali, George W. Bush, February 18, 2004
  • Media in Tunisia
    • 20 years of tightly state controlled state mainstream media
    • All commercial media were controlled by people close to the state
    • No independent media
    Vivid example:
    Minor alley in Rome was named Ben Ali, but state media reported that main boulevard in Rome was named after the second President of Tunisia.
    The media was able to create the impression that Tunisia was so important that a major street in Rome was named after Ben Ali.
  • Where the Arab revolution started
    Tunisia
    SidiBouzid
    39,915 inhabitants
    200 km from capital city
  • The price of freedom
    Mohamed Bouazizi – Martyr of Arab Revolution
    29 March 1984 - 17 December 2010 (11:30)
    - 4 January 2011
  • The unrest
    • The family started protest in front of government building where Mahamed had set himself on fire
    • The family started documenting the unrests with mobile phones and uploaded the videos to Facebook
    • People start unrests in streets of SidiBouzid
    • International press who wants to report on the protest pick up the material from Facebook
    Why does international mainstream media pick up some unconfirmed material from Facebook instead of using their own?
  • The unrest
    As always, the government tries to crush the unrest by:
    • Blocking international journalists from coming in
    • Blocking national media coverage completely
    • Closing access to the city
    • Deploying security forces in the street
    • Discouraging people to participate
    Despite all, the protest starts spreading to other small towns in Tunisia.
    In a couple of weeks, the momentum around Mohamed Bouazizi`s forces the President, Ben Ali, to take new steps.
  • Issued by President`s office
  • January 4, Bouazizi dies
  • A turning point
    Protest keeps spreading.
    January 13: Ben Ali gets in front of the people and makes three concessions:
    Tunisian security forces will stop firing life ammunition at protestors.
    Bread and oil will be made cheaper.
    Tunisia will get rid of internet censorship. (!)
  • Point 3 of Ben Ali`s concession
    The point is interesting to mention because:
    Facebook and other social platforms were not blocked during the 2010 protests.
    During a protest two years earlier, the government hat blocked Facebook. Internet activists had evaded censorship by using special software.
    Number of Facebook users still increased 10x.
  • A Regime rolling with the punches
    The Security Service started intercepting Facebook passwords by hacking into the national Internet Service Provider (ISP). There was no privacy on Facebook. Facebook was not blocked.
    Ben Ali opened a Facebook Profile (over 200.000 friends)
    Regime started online propaganda and hacking offensive on big groups on social media.
  • Why did protestors use Facebook anyway?
    Video sites like YouTube, Vimeo and others were all blocked. Facebook was the only available platform on which protestors could upload mobile videos easily.
    Protestors posted those videos only on sites with a few hundred viewers.
    One of those viewers was the underground group called “NAWAAT”.
  • Dissidents from Tunisia aggregating underground media and criticizing mainstream media for Ben Ali Bulevard)
  • NAWAAT collected videos from Facebook and added subtitles. (Tunisian is not understood by Arab World)
    Posted videos on NAWAAT website and was sent to
    AlJazeera (banned from Tunisia).
    AlJazeera broadcasted the material over satellite and back to Tunisian viewers – BROADCAST MIRROR EFFECT.
    The Broadcast Media Mirror send the message “It`s OK to protest – You will not get arrested right away!” It gives a PERMISSION TO GET INVOLVED IN REAL LIFE.
  • Protestor “NEWS ROOM” documenting protests
  • Khaled Mohamed Saeed
    27.01.1982. – 06.06. 2010.
  • "Marg bar dictator! "
  • The two confronting main ideologies on the role and influence of internet in democratic movements
  • Cyber-enthusiasts
    Born November 24, 1981 in Weston, Connecticut
    Member of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff from 2006-2010 and advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and later Hillary Clinton.
    In September 2010, Cohen was named by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 game changers of the year and by Devex as one of the top 40 people under 40.
    15 June 2009
    Jared Cohen
  • Cyber-sceptics
    EvgenyMozorov
  • 11:30 p.m. EST
    9:46 p.m. EST
    Twitter, tracking events as they unfold in realtime
  • 14.8 million public Tweets, and bitly links
  • Keith Urbahn
    Chief of staff of Donald Rumsfeld
    former Secretary of Defense
    Keith Urbahn wasn’t the first to speculate Bin Laden’s death, but he was the one who gained the most trust from the network.
    And with that, the perfect situation unfolded, where timing, the right social-professional networked audience, along with a critically relevant piece of information led to an explosion of public affirmation of his trustworthiness.
  • Michigan House Rep. Justin Amash
    “I wasn’t considering a run for Congress or any other seat when I began posting my votes, but Facebook has turned into a fantastic campaigning tool.”
    “Above all, it has helped me to gain credibility with voters. When I say that I’m a principled, consistent conservative, people know that it’s true. They can see it, and they can tell from our discussions that I’m actually reading the bills.”
  • Thank you
    toni.crisolli@gmail.com
    @tonicrisolli