Foreign Policy Blogs

Twitter Tweaks the Tyrants

twitterbirdOnce attendees out at Davos for the World Economic Forum finish ooing over the gift bag they face the thorny problem of picking between sessions.

Life on Other Planets vs. The Year of the Flood: Speculative Fiction or the Edge of Reality? Should one work on Rethinking the Economic and Social Impact of Fitness or attend the dinner-theater explanation of the current crisis, “The Bard and the Buck?”

Alas, your faithful correspondent was not invited this year – perhaps the invitation was lost in the mail – but I would not have missed  The Growing Influence of Social Networks.

Twitter CEO Evan Williams planted a nice target on his team’s back by pledging to find ways to help Twitter avoid censorship in China, Iran and other places that interfere with the freedom to connect.

There is an old aphorism in the networking community – “The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” I wish them luck. The Twitter system is far more open to other programmers than many other tools such as Facebook, so they may succeed to a greater extent.

For a nasty oppressive government, it’s the ultimate game of whack-a-mole. Of course, for the people attempting to simply share their opinions, it can mean jail or, well, getting whacked.