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Facebook, Google and Twitter Rebel Against Pakistan’s Censorship Rules
"When Pakistan’s government unveiled some of the world’s most sweeping rules on internet censorship this month, global internet companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter were expected to comply or face severe penalties — including the potential shutdown of their services. Instead, the tech giants banded together and threatened to leave the country and its 70 million internet users in digital darkness. Through a group called the Asia Internet Coalition, they wrote a scathing letter to Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan. In it, the companies warned that 'the rules as currently written would make it extremely difficult for AIC Members to make their services available to Pakistani users and businesses.' Their public rebellion, combined with pressure and lawsuits from local civil libertarians, forced the government to retreat. The law remains on the books, but Pakistani officials pledged this week to review the regulations and undertake an 'extensive and broad-based consultation process with all relevant segments of civil society and technology companies.'" - Vindu Goel and Salman Masood, New York Times
otf  pakistan  facebook  google  twitter  social  censorship  southasia  asia 
27 days ago by dmcdev
Here's How China Is Hunting Down Coronavirus Critics
"As China ramps up efforts to control the narrative around the coronavirus outbreak, it is also expanding its efforts to leverage online platforms to track down people who dare to speak out. From tracking down Twitter users using their mobile numbers to hacking WeChat accounts to find out someone's location, Beijing is eager to stop any negative news from being shared online — and is will to use intimidation, arrests and threats of legal action." - David Gilbert, VICE

+ New York Times (video): China Is Censoring Coronavirus Stories. These Citizens Are Fighting Back. https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/asia/100000006970549/coronavirus-chinese-citizens.html
otf  china  asia  gfw  coronavirus  censorship  access  wechat  twitter  social 
5 weeks ago by dmcdev
How Saudi Arabia Infiltrated Twitter
"[Ali] Alzabarah and Ahmad Abouammo, a colleague on Twitter’s global media team, regularly accessed and delivered information that could’ve led Saudi intelligence to identify anonymous dissidents. While news of the allegations against them has been public since November 2019, the extent of their roles and abilities inside the company have never previously been reported. Alzabarah, Abouammo, and al-Asaker did not respond to requests for comment. Though Azabarah fled, he and Abouammo, who remained in the US, are currently indicted in United States federal court on charges of acting as undeclared agents of the Saudi government. No matter the verdict, the case has exposed tech companies’ vulnerability to attempted foreign infiltration. One well-placed employee can potentially do extensive damage." - Alex Kantrowitz, BuzzFeed News
otf  saudi  saudiarabia  mena  twitter  social  surveillance  awareness  security 
5 weeks ago by dmcdev
Thai Twitter users face threats over comments on royal motorcade
"On 1 October 2019, the hashtag #ขบวนเสด็จ or #royalmotorcade trended on Twitter in Thailand as innumerable critical tweets were posted in response to a royal motorcade causing a traffic jam around Victory Monument, Bangkok, in the evening rush hour. It remains unknown who was being transported in the royal motorcade. The hashtag trended despite legal restrictions on criticism of the Thai royal family. However, several users reported receiving threatening messages over their critical tweets...Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reported that an activist who commented on the hashtag also faced a threat from a sender who claimed to be from the Palace. The text message says “Please delete all your social network accounts by tonight for your safety.” Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said the threat had no legal basis and the Palace should investigate if it was made by an imposter." - Global Voices Advox via Prachatai
otf  thailand  twitter  asia  SoutheastAsia  social  speech  foe 
october 2019 by dmcdev
Twitter and Facebook take first actions against China for using fake accounts to sow discord in Hong Kong
"Twitter and Facebook said Monday they had taken action against China for using hundreds of fake accounts to sow political discord during the Hong Kong protests, marking the first time the social media giants had identified Beijing directly for spearheading such an operation. Twitter said it was suspending nearly a thousand Chinese accounts and banning advertising from state-owned media companies, citing a 'significant state-backed information operation' related to protests in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Facebook said it was removing five Facebook accounts, seven pages and three groups after being tipped off to the use of 'a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts'...Facebook said that the pages it removed had about 15,500 accounts following one or more, while 2,200 accounts joined at least one of the groups. The company said its investigation had found 'links to individuals associated with the Chinese government.' Though Facebook is not considering a ban on advertising from state-sponsored media, the company said it is working on additional transparency measures...The [Twitter] accounts were part of a larger network of roughly 200,000 accounts that were proactively deleted before they were substantially active, Twitter said in a blog post. That’s despite Twitter being blocked in China, the company added. Twitter said that the accounts it suspended were accessed from virtual private networks, or VPNs, or unblocked Internet protocol addresses originating from China." - Marie C. Baca and Tony Romm, The Washington Post

+ New York Times: Going From Hong Kong to Mainland China? Your Phone Is Subject to Search https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/world/asia/hong-kong-protest-phone-checks.html
otf  social  twitter  facebook  disinfo  hongkong  china  asia 
august 2019 by dmcdev
Banned at home, Twitter becomes a new tool for Chinese diplomats abroad
"According to Chinese officials, Twitter is a destabilizing carrier of foreign influence, a platform banned inside China on national security grounds. Also according to Chinese officials: 'We are pleased to join Twitter in which we can engage in more frequent and productive dialogue with Americans.' That was the optimistic message posted Monday by the Chinese Embassy in Washington as the delegation and its ambassador, Cui Tiankai, opened two new accounts on the social media platform. Never mind that Twitter is blocked back home — and that government critics caught posting can find themselves engaged in frequent dialogue with law enforcement authorities. The Chinese diplomats are joining a raft of state media outlets that have opened Twitter accounts in recent years as part of a push by Beijing to spread its influence beyond its tightly censored domestic media bubble." - Gerry Shih, Washington Post
otf  china  twitter  censorship  social  access  speech  foe 
july 2019 by dmcdev
Russia opens civil proceedings against Facebook and Twitter
Russia’s communication watchdog opened administrative proceedings against Facebook and Twitter for failing to comply with local data laws.

Roskomnadzor, the regulator, said on Monday that the two social networks did not explain how and when they would comply with legislation requiring them to store Russian users’ personal data on servers in Russia.

The news was first reported by Russia’s Interfax news agency.

“The companies managing the social networks of Facebook and Twitter provided formal answers to our demands to confirm the localization of personal data of Russian users in Russia,” Roskomnadzor told CNBC in an emailed comment Monday.

“They do not contain specifics about the actual implementation of the legislation at the current moment, nor about the timing of the implementation of these standards in the future.”

The watchdog added: “In this regard, today Roskomnadzor begins administrative proceedings against both companies.” - CNBC
otf  russia  twitter  facebook  social  datalocalization  Roskomnadzor 
january 2019 by dmcdev
Democratic Republic of the Congo cuts internet access following presidential elections
Following presidential elections held this past weekend, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has implemented an internet shutdown in order to avoid a "popular uprising," AFP reports. Outgoing President Joseph Kabila's diplomatic advisor told AFP the DRC's "national security council had decided it was 'imperative' to shut down the internet to allow the electoral commission to finish counting and compiling votes." However, AFP reports that "the opposition accused authorities of cutting the internet on Monday to thwart activism, while leading Western powers called on the troubled central African nation's government to quickly restore web access."

NetBlocks (a previously OTF-supported project) published technical evidence of the shutdown on December 31st, which you can access here https://netblocks.org/reports/evidence-of-internet-shutdowns-in-drc-amid-election-unrest-PW80YLAK. NetBlocks confirmed that there have been "[m]ajor outages affecting mobile and fixed-line connections, and a full blackout in some regions including Lubumbashi and parts of Kinshasa have been detected."

+ Sudan blocked access to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram amid anti-government protests, Quartz reports. https://qz.com/africa/1510229/sudan-shuts-down-facebook-twitter-instagram-amid-bread-protests/ NetBlocks published data confirming that blockage as well. https://netblocks.org/reports/study-shows-impact-of-sudan-internet-disruptions-amid-demonstrations-qr8Vj485
otf  drc  sudan  shutdown  access  social  africa  facebook  twitter  instagram 
january 2019 by dmcdev
Crackdown in Beijing: 'Using Twitter is more dangerous than street demonstrations'
Though it's already blocked in China, Beijing is cracking down on Twitter users who access the social media site via circumvention tools, reports Global Voices Advocacy: "The December 5 release of 42 testimonies collected by China Change [https://chinachange.org/2018/12/05/china-steps-up-nationwide-crackdown-to-silence-twitter-users-the-unmediated-story/], a Chinese human rights advocacy site, details the ordeals of hundreds of Twitter users who have been detained and interrogated by national security police officers since September 2018. In most cases, police have asked — if not forced — these users to delete their posts or accounts...Mainland Chinese authorities have arrested Twitter users in the past, but there was no clear pattern or evidence of a strategic crackdown...The current crackdown is a new and more worrisome development. It is happening nationwide and is not restricted to a specific online incident or act. The number of Twitter users who have been directly threatened is estimated to be in the hundreds or even more."
otf  china  asia  twitter  social  censorship  gfw 
december 2018 by dmcdev
Stealth crackdown: Chinese censorship extends to Twitter as activists' accounts disappear
"Despite being blocked in China, Twitter and other overseas social media sites have long been used freely by activists and government critics to address subjects that are censored on domestic forums — until now...People in China can use virtual private network (VPN) software to circumvent Beijing’s controls and access blocked foreign sites. But fearful that the platforms could be used to coordinate political activity, the authorities have launched a stealth crackdown over the past year. Chinese activists and other Twitter users say they have been pressured by police to delete sensitive tweets." - AFP
otf  china  asia  twitter  social  access  gfw  foe  censorship 
november 2018 by dmcdev
How Twitter endangered a Saudi activist after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi
"Twitter, the platform that once saved my life, is now putting it in danger. The events in the weeks following Jamal Khashoggi’s murder inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul showed that the lives of other journalists and activists are also at risk. Seven years after Twitter saved me, I recently made the choice to delete my Twitter account...Twitter has became full of harassment, death threats, intimidation and false news for us who have chosen to speak out in the Arab world. Twitter has not enacted any real change in making Twitter safer for us, which has pushed so many I know to quit the platform. Still, I continued to voice my views there. I believed that those governments should be the ones to be afraid, not us. I believed that I finally had a voice, and that I should use it." - Manal al-Sharif for the Washington Post
saudiarabia  twitter  social  speech  safety  mena  foe 
november 2018 by dmcdev
Saudis’ Image Makers: A Troll Army and a Twitter Insider
Incoming ICFP fellow Alexei Abrahams [https://www.opentech.fund/about/people/alexei-abrahams/] was quoted in this New York Times piece on the Saudi Arabian government's efforts to slant discussions and silence critical voices on Twitter.

From the article:

"Yet the government’s social media manipulation tracks with crackdowns in recent years in other authoritarian states, said Alexei Abrahams, a research fellow at Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto.

Even for conversations involving millions of tweets, a few hundred or a few thousand influential accounts drive the discussion, he said, citing new research. The Saudi government appears to have realized this and tried to take control of the conversation, he added.

'From the regime’s point of view,' he said, 'if there are only a few thousand accounts driving the discourse, you can just buy or threaten the activists, and that significantly shapes the conversation.'"
otf  saudiarabia  mena  twitter  social  misinformation  disinfo 
october 2018 by dmcdev
The Kingdom’s Hackers and Bots: how Saudi Arabia uses cutting-edge technology to track dissidents and stifle dissent
"According to experts who study Riyadh’s use of digital surveillance and propaganda, Saudi Arabia has deployed both spyware against critics of the regime and Twitter bots as part of its effort to maintain its grip on power, monitor dissident voices, and control its domestic public sphere. One of the Saudis apparently knowledgeable in the use of surveillance software, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, has been described as an official close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Mutreb also appears to have played a role in [journalist Jamal] Khashoggi’s death, according to evidence compiled by Turkish authorities. He was spotted entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul shortly before Khashoggi. According to emails published by WikiLeaks in 2015, Mutreb and other Saudi officials were due to receive training in the use of spyware similar to what the Israeli firm NSO markets from the Italian company Hacking Team...Bill Marczak, a senior research fellow at Citizen Lab, said Saudi Arabia has deployed Pegasus in a large number of countries, including Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, France, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. 'It is possible that the Saudis were using it pretty recklessly,' he said. Riyadh has also deployed a sizable bot army to control the online narrative and drown out criticism of the regime."
otf  saudiarabia  mena  twitter  social  bots  misinformation  hack  nsogroup  surveillance 
october 2018 by dmcdev
UAE rights activist Ahmed Mansoor appeals 10-year sentence
Mansoor - a.k.a. "the million dollar dissident" https://citizenlab.ca/2016/08/million-dollar-dissident-iphone-zero-day-nso-group-uae/ who was the target of an iPhone 0day, likely by the UAE government - is appealing the jail sentence, handed down in response to Mansoor's tweets that the state interpreted as being overly critical:

"Prominent Emirati rights activist Ahmed Mansoor has filed a Supreme Court appeal in a bid to overturn a 10-year prison sentence handed to him earlier this year over several Twitter posts. Mansoor was sentenced in May by Abu Dhabi's Federal Appeals Court for 'defaming the UAE through social media channels'. A father of four, Mansoor was also fined one million dirhams ($270,000) for insulting the status and prestige of the UAE and its symbols, including its leaders. Several international rights groups, including a number of United Nations human rights bodies, the EU Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have condemned the move."
otf  uae  speech  jail  activism  mena  twitter  social  foe 
october 2018 by dmcdev
Research: "Don't @ Me: Hunting Twitter Bots at Scale"
New research from Duo Labs focusing on identifying Twitter bots at scale discusses ways of effectively identifying bots on Twitter, with Duo researchers applying their approach in a "case study" analysis focusing on a botnet spreading a cryptocurrency scam. Duo first identified a dataset of 88 million public Twitter accounts for the study, and then utilized "practical data science techniques" to find the bot networks.  Duo says that "by monitoring the botnet over time, we discover ways the bots evolve to evade detection," adding that "after finding initial bots using the tools and techniques described in this paper, a thread can be followed that can result in the discovery and unraveling of an entire botnet." Duo notes that their research is focused purely on identifying automated Twitter accounts, as opposed to automated accounts that are "necessarily malicious."

Duo made the data collection code they used open source; it's available on GitHub.

Read the full technical paper (pdf) here.
research  twitter  social  bot  botnet  bots  duo 
august 2018 by dmcdev
How Turkey silences journalists online, one removal request at a time - @pressfreedom
The Turkish government requests more content and account censorship on Twitter than any other government in the world, racking up the majority of such requests in both categories, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The press freedom watchdog based its findings off an analysis of Twitter's own transparency  report - specifically the data on "country withheld content" (CWC), which is what Twitter calls such government requests. Of course, other countries like Iran and China ban Twitter outright, while the site remains accessible in Turkey.  Twitter cooperated with about a quarter of the government's requests. Russia is also a big source of takedown requests, as these two countries "were responsible for 74 percent of all requests" between 2014 and 2017, CPJ says.

CPJ: "Twitter complied fully or partially with 24 per cent of legal demands from Turkey, compared with about 9 percent for the rest of the world...Journalists whose accounts have been censored by CWC requests told CPJ that Twitter is inconsistent with its compliance with such requests and complained about the lack of remediation options. [Turkish journalist Abdülhamit] Bilici told CPJ, 'It is a shame that Twitter silences a journalist already silenced by an authoritarian government.' The journalist is living in exile in the U.S. after Turkey seized and then shuttered his paper...Soon after Twitter recorded its first CWC use in Turkey during a two-week ban on the platform in 2014, then-Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay told the press that 'Twitter now toes the line.' Since then, Turkey has used the tool to withhold 1,482 accounts (82 percent of all accounts ever withheld worldwide), and 9,552 tweets (67 percent of all tweets withheld worldwide), according to Twitter's transparency reports."        
otf  cpj  press  pressfreedom  media  turkey  twitter  social  speech  censorship 
august 2018 by dmcdev
A Generation Grows Up in China Without Google, Facebook or Twitter
With popular social media sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram blocked (not to mention thousands of other websites), Chinese teenagers are not only unaware of these platforms but are also "uninterested in knowing what has been censored online, allowing Beijing to build an alternative value system that competes with Western liberal democracy," Li Yuan reports for the New York Times. Li Yuan notes that this outlook represents "a departure even from those born in China in the 1980s," with the "rebels" of yesteryear largely gone.

NYT: "Wei Dilong, 18, who lives in the southern Chinese city of Liuzhou, likes basketball, hip-hop music and Hollywood superhero movies. He plans to study chemistry in Canada when he goes to college in 2020. Mr. Wei is typical of Chinese teenagers in another way, too: He has never heard of Google or Twitter. He once heard of Facebook, though. It is 'maybe like Baidu?' he asked one recent afternoon, referring to China’s dominant search engine...Many young people in China have little idea what Google, Twitter or Facebook are, creating a gulf with the rest of the world...Many young people in China instead consume apps and services like Baidu, the social media service WeChat and the short-video platform Tik Tok. Often, they spout consumerism and nationalism."

The article points to research shared in this newsletter yesterday, conducted by two economists from Peking University and Stanford University, which explored Beijing university students' use of censorship circumvention tools and the factors that make their use more or less likely, which found that "...simply offering the tool did little to change behavior or beliefs, as there doesn’t appears to be much natural demand for the material that the government considers off-limits. But the tool had a big impact on those who were encouraged to use it." [The Impact of Media Censorship: Evidence from a Field Experiment in China (pdf) https://web.stanford.edu/~dyang1/cgi-bin/pdfs/1984bravenewworld_draft.pdf]
otf  china  asia  gfw  censorship  social  facebook  twitter  access 
august 2018 by dmcdev
Egypt targets social media with new law
Under a law passed by the country's parliament on Monday, the Egyptian government now has the power to block social media accounts and hold journalists accountable for "publishing fake news," Reuters reports. Under the law, accounts on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook with more than 5k followers "will be treated as media outlets," which opens them up to more legal scrutiny from the government.

Reuters: "Under the law passed on Monday social media accounts and blogs with more than 5,000 followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook will be treated as media outlets, which makes them subject to prosecution for publishing false news or incitement to break the law...The bill prohibits the establishment of websites without obtaining a license from the Supreme Council and allows it to suspend or block existing websites, or impose fines on editors. The law, which takes effect after it is ratified by Sisi, also states that journalists can only film in places that are not prohibited, but does not explain further...critics say it will give legal basis to measures the government has been taking to crack down on dissent and extend its control over social media."
otf  egypt  mena  social  twitter  facebook 
july 2018 by dmcdev
Zimbabwe has cut data tariffs in the run-up to its first social media-led election
Zimbabwe is set to hold presidential, parliamentary and local government elections on July 30th, and WhatsApp will likely play a key role in deciding the races, as the app accounts for nearly half (44%) of the country's internet traffic. To better facilitate information flow over WhatsApp, the government announced last week the reduction of data tariffs for mobile internet providers starting on July 1st - which "will mean cheaper social media access and usage," Tawanda Karombo writes for Quartz.

"Social media is seen as having a key role in the polls, as a report by the telecom industry regulator, Potraz last year showed that WhatsApp alone accounts for 44% of internet usage in Zimbabwe. The country has an internet penetration rate of 50%, mostly driven by mobile gadgets...In a country where more than half the country is under 25, the youth vote is key. The 37-year rule of former president Robert Mugabe since Zimbabwe’s independence means at least 70% of the country’s population had never known any other leader than Mugabe until last November when he was pushed out in a coup. And in a break with tradition, online platforms are playing a major role in the battle for the 5.6 million Zimbabweans who have registered to vote. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have taken center stage. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced Mugabe, has gone all out to appeal to the youthful populace with new Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts."
otf  zimbabwe  africa  social  vote  access  whatsapp  twitter 
june 2018 by dmcdev
A plague of Twitter bots is roiling the Middle East
Governments in the Persian Gulf are creating Twitter bot armies made up of "thousands of bots" that are ordered "to tweet in a coordinated fashion," focusing their efforts on politically relevant topics that states in the region want to shape public opinion on, according to researchers Marc Owen Jones and Alexei Abrahams, who studied the bots and their behavior.

Discussing their findings for the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog, they say that "...Propaganda bots operating in the gulf do not attempt to engage other users directly, tending instead to focus on increasing the public salience of statements tweeted by prominent human accounts. For example, bots often amplify tweets by critics of the Qatari government or royal family, such as the leader of the Qatari opposition abroad, Khalid al Hail, or @QatariLeaks, an anti-Qatar website. Thousands of bots have been mobilized against Qatari news station Al Jazeera...Beyond promoting particular opinions, bots are useful even more fundamentally for deciding the topic of conversation. Twitter hashtags can be started by anyone. To gain public salience, however, many other accounts must take up that same hashtag in their own tweets...Hashtag manipulation is such a pervasive phenomenon in the gulf that only a month after the outbreak of the crisis, the hashtag 'don’t participate in suspicious hashtags' began trending...There is also a more fundamental authoritarian logic at play. While social media may ultimately act as an incubator for political opinion formation, it is more crucially the place where citizens go to find out what other citizens think — a vital ingredient to mobilizing. By inflating the importance and salience of specific political figures, millions of bots are drowning out citizens’ opinions with the voice of a small authoritarian elite."
otf  mena  twitter  bots  propaganda  social  gulf 
june 2018 by dmcdev
Six Ministers And Two MPs Call For Unblocking Twitter In Iran
In an open letter, six Iranian ministers and two lawmakers are calling on the country's prosecutor to make Twitter accessible in Iran. They wrote in the letter, released on Monday, May 21, that Twitter - blocked in the country since 2009 - allows its users to play an "effective" and "powerful" role in the world, Radio Farda reports:

"The letter is signed by Communication Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Education Minister Mohammad Bathaee, Intelligence Minister Mahmud Alavi, Justice Minister Alireza Avayi, Science Minister Mansur Gholami, and Culture Minister Abbas Salehi, as well as lawmakers Ramezanali Sobhanifar and Mohammad Kazemi...By unblocking Twitter, the country’s officials hope to receive public support in their diplomatic wranglings with countries such as the United States and Israel."

Meanwhile, despite Iran blocking Telegram, usage among Iranian users has risen to pre-ban levels, according to chart shared online by the country's telecommunications minister and as reported by the Center for Human Rights in Iran. https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2018/05/irans-telegram-users-back-on-the-rise-three-weeks-after-state-banned-the-app/
otf  iran  mena  telegam  twitter  censorship  access 
may 2018 by dmcdev
Flock of followers descends on Southeast Asia’s Twitter users, but are they real?
Prominent Twitter users in Southeast Asia have reported a sizable uptick in new followers, most of whom have the look and feel of a bot. First reported by FInancial Times https://www.ft.com/content/e59dba5a-421d-11e8-803a-295c97e6fd0b, most of the accounts have few if any followers or posts and have followed high profile journalists, activists, academics, diplomats, media personalities, and the like. Some are concerned that the bots will be used to influence elections in the region, while some users want to see Twitter do more to address the issue.

The Democratic Voice of Burma reports: "High-profile Twitter users in Southeast Asia have reported an ongoing wave of new followers, a social media phenomenon first noted in March which has stoked fears that regional governments are zeroing-in on the platform amid growing concerns that their countries’ leaders are muzzling online speech...The reason for the recent influx is pure speculation while the accounts lay dormant...Twitter users from Cambodia to Sri Lanka and Vietnam to China, among others, have reported a deluge of new followers, leading observers to speculate that country-specific automated accounts are targeting users that have a specific country or countries mentioned in their Twitter biography...Former Dutch diplomat Laetitia van den Assum, who also served on the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, called on Twitter to take action. 'This is ridiculous. What is happening and is condoned by Twitter is probably linked to an illegal bot factory that targets Twitter users like me who are active tweeters about issues related to Myanmar,' she said via email. It’s 'high time' Twitter implemented a mechanism to flag suspected bots to the user, she added."

AFP reports https://www.rappler.com/technology/features/200864-suspected-twitter-bots-asia-spark-fear that the timing of the "Botmageddon" has raised concerns that there may be plots afoot to influence voters ahead of upcoming elections in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
otf  twitter  southeastasia  social  bots 
april 2018 by dmcdev
The Yemen War Online: Propagation of Censored Content on Twitter
In Yemen, Twitter is a platform that enables the dissemination of content blocked elsewhere on the web, and while censored content is made available there, users tend to "coalesce into self-defined media spheres aligned around social and political affinities" a new Berkman Klein Internet Monitor report finds. Additionally, a sizable proportion of users in Yemen and Saudi Arabia make use of Psiphon to circumvent government-imposed censorship.

From the report: "While selective exposure to web content is often associated with polarization, we show that social media—in this case Twitter—is used to propagate censored content from the open web, making it more visible to users behind open-web filtering regimes. The evidence shows that government attempts to corral social media users into government-friendly media bubbles does not work, although government filters make it more difficult to access some content...Data from circumvention tool service Psiphon confirm that a significant number of users in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the two countries directly involved in the war, bypass local filtering regimes by employing circumvention tools. We can infer from this that users behind filtering regimes can access censored open web content and share blocked content on social media platforms including Twitter. Twitter and other platforms that have implemented HTTPS serve as recommendation systems for both blocked and unblocked content. Users who encounter blocked URLs on Twitter can use circumvention tools to bypass the filtering. Moreover, the sharing of blocked content on social media platforms serves as an incentive to adopt circumvention tools."
otf  yemen  saudiarabia  mena  censorship  social  twitter 
march 2018 by dmcdev
Moscow says Twitter ready to store data of users on Russian servers despite concerns over surveillance
"Twitter has agreed to store the personal data of Russian nationals on servers located within Russia in order to comply with a data security law, a state agency has claimed.

The San Francisco-based social media company sent a letter expressing its 'readiness to localise databases on the territory of Russia by the middle of 2018', the Russian state communications oversight agency told Izvestia newspaper.

The 2015 data security law requires companies to store Russians' 'personal data' in Russia, ostensibly to reduce dependence on foreign technology.

It has caused widespread concern that it puts users' personal information at risk of being accessed by Russian intelligence services." - Alec Luhn, Telegraph News
otf  twitter  russia  privacy  data  datalocalization 
november 2017 by dmcdev
Zimbabwe police arrest U.S. citizen over Mugabe 'Goblin' Tweet
"Zimbabwe police detained a U.S. citizen and seized her laptop on Friday on suspicion of calling President Robert Mugabe a 'Goblin' on Twitter, the first arrest since the creation of a Ministry of Cyber Security last month, her lawyers said.

Martha O‘Donovan, who works for Magamba TV, which describes itself as Zimbabwe’s leading producer of political satire, was picked up during a dawn raid on her Harare home, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said in a statement.

The police were armed with a search warrant linked to an investigation of a case of 'undermining authority of or insulting the President', it added.

Central to their investigation, it said, was a post on O‘Donovan’s Twitter feed referring to a 'Goblin' whose wife and step-sons had imported a Rolls Royce, an apparent reference to 93-year-old Mugabe even though he was not named." - Reuters
otf  zimbabwe  africa  twitter  social  speech  foe 
november 2017 by dmcdev
Pakistan’s requests to remove Twitter accounts doubled in six months: report
"The number of requests made by Pakistani authorities to Twitter for removal of accounts and information has doubled since last year, according to a bi-annual transparency report of the social networking website. Between January and June 30, the government asked Twitter to remove 24 accounts, and over 80 accounts were reported, with zero compliance. According to Nighat Dad from the Digital Rights Foundation, there has been strict monitoring of Twitter and other social networking websites since some bloggers disappeared earlier this year." - Tooba Masood, Dawn
otf  pakistan  nighatdad  southasia  twitter  social  censorship  surveillance 
september 2017 by dmcdev
Iran Reported To Be Negotiating With Twitter To Unblock Popular Website
"Iran's new communications minister has said that negotiations are under way to stop blocking Twitter, which has been banned for years despite being used by the country's top leaders...[36-year-old Mohammad-Javad Azari] Jahromi, Iran's youngest-ever minister and the first to be born after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, has been a critic of online censorship in Iran. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter remain officially banned even as millions use them daily through easily obtained software...'Twitter is not an immoral environment needing to be blocked,' Jahromi has said. Article by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
otf  iran  mena  twitter 
august 2017 by dmcdev
Crackdown on Online Criticism Chills Pakistani Social Media
"[T]he Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, was widely promoted as a tool to punish internet activity by banned militant groups and curb online sexual harassment. But in recent months it has increasingly been used to crack down on those who have gone online with criticism of the government and, particularly, the military.

Civil rights advocates, as well as people directly targeted by the authorities, have described actions that included harassment, intimidation, and detention without access to lawyers or family members. In a few cases, physical abuse of those in custody was reported.

More subtly, the campaign has also injected a distinct chill into a Pakistani social media scene long known for boldness and rollicking satire." - Mehreen Zahra-Malik, New York Times
otf  pakistan  southasia  asia  social  speech  foe  twitter  facebook 
july 2017 by dmcdev
Netizen Report: New Research Tests Facebook’s Digital ‘On Ramp’ for Developing Countries
Research tests Facebook's Free Basics app for usability and openness; independent news sites censored in South Sudan; Kyrgyzstan bans the Internet Archive for ‘extremist materials’; Russian Senate passes censorship law outlawing VPNs, Tor; research on a Twitter bot army launched against Al Jazeera; and more in Global Voices Advocacy's Netizen Report
otf  netizenreport  access  awareness  privacy  security  facebook  southsudan  Kyrgyzstan  Russia  VPN  tor  twitter  media 
july 2017 by dmcdev
Social Network Censorship: Topics, Techniques, and Impacts (pdf) #research
Rice University doctoral thesis by Rima S. Tanash focuses on analyzing censorship to include "western social media, with an explicit focus on Turkish censorship of Twitter, while showing evidence of how aggregating users' data from public APIs can lead to privacy leaks of users' political affiliations."
otf  research  social  twitter  turkey 
july 2017 by dmcdev
#Bahrain: Activist Nabeel Rajab jailed for "broadcasting fake news"
"Human rights defender Nabeel Rajab has been sentenced to two years in prison in Bahrain for 'broadcasting fake news'. A court ruled that he had undermined the 'prestige' of the kingdom, the state news agency reports...Nabeel Rajab, who is president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, also risks further jail time for political tweets. The sentence is related to interviews he did with television journalists in 2015." - BBC News
otf  bahrian  mena  twitter  speech  foe  social  access 
july 2017 by dmcdev
With Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Blocked, Venezuelans Share Tech Advice
Unable to access multiple websites and popular social media platforms, Venezuelans shared advice on how to circumvent the block - including by making manual changes to one's DNS servers and using circumvention technologies like VPNs and Tor. Article by Global Voices Advocacy
otf  venezuela  Southamerica  social  facebook  twitter  youtube  access  block  censor  censorship 
july 2017 by dmcdev
Twitter hack takes over Venezuelan journalist account to spread misinformation
"In Venezuela, for example, digital-rights group Access Now says it discovered recently that Twitter accounts belonging to a local journalist and a member of parliament and human-rights activist had been hijacked, using a procedure it refers to as 'the Double Switch.'
The hackers then used the accounts to spread fake news, something that has been particularly problematic in Venezuela because of the political unrest there, including a government crackdown that involves surveillance and censorship." - Mathew Ingram, Fortune
otf  venezuela  social  twitter  hack  news  media  censorship  Southamerica 
june 2017 by dmcdev
Netizen Report: Draft Laws in Egypt Could Lock Down Social Media
"The Egyptian parliament is reviewing a bill that would require social media users in Egypt to register with a government authority in order to use social media websites including Facebook and Twitter...Tunisian activist interrogated over leaked documents...Russia blocks WeChat...Turkish court orders Wikipedia offline," and more in this week's Netizen Report from Global Voices Advocacy
otf  egypt  social  tunisia  netizen  netizenreport  facebook  twitter  russia  wechat  turkey  wiki 
may 2017 by dmcdev
Turkey Has Blocked Wikipedia and Is Censoring Twitter
"Turkey blocked access today to Wikipedia on April 29, citing a vaguely worded law that allows authorities to block a website deemed obscene or a threat to national security. Wikipedia, the open access site, was down in all languages using a Turkish IP address as of 8am, according to the monitoring group Turkey Blocks. This comes on the back of Turkish authorities asking of Twitter to block Mahir Zeynalov, a journalist and leading critical voice against Erdogan's autocratic rule—and it is not the first time." - Farid Farid, Motherboard
otf  turkey  access  wiki  wikipedia  twitter  social  censorship 
may 2017 by dmcdev
Emirati Hardline Nationalists Target Human Rights Defenders on Twitter - @AminJobran
"When his supporters began tweeting about the arrest of Emirati human rights advocate Ahmed Mansoor last week, many of them were swiftly named and shamed on Twitter for defending a “traitor that deserves to die.”

These replies came from accounts of what seem to belong to Emirati nationals, most of them with typically female usernames. Their accounts have no self-identifying photos and their Twitter walls are composed of hardline-nationalist, anti-Muslim Brotherhood, and anti-Iranian tweets and retweets, along with some religious quotes and recitations.

The online discussion about Mansoor and the people participating — on both civil society and pro-government sides — reveals a great deal about ongoing conflict between human rights defenders and hardline nationalists in the UAE." - Amin Jobran for Global Voices
otf  uae  humanrights  mena  speech  twitter  HRDs 
april 2017 by dmcdev
An in-depth characterisation of Bots and Humans on Twitter (pdf) #research
"Recent research has shown a substantial active presence of bots in online social networks (OSNs). In this paper we utilise our past work on studying bots (Stweeler) to comparatively analyse the usage and impact of bots and humans on Twitter, one of the largest OSNs in the world." - Zafar Gilani, Liang Wang, and Jon Crowcroft, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge; Gareth Tyson, Institut Mines Telecom Paris; and Gareth Tyson, Queen Mary University of London
otf  social  twitter  bots  research 
april 2017 by dmcdev
Ecuadorian Elections Marked by Website Outages, Twitter Suspensions
"In the days surrounding Ecuador’s closely contested April 2 primary election, online activists and digital rights groups witnessed a wave of social media account suspensions and technical attacks that they suspect were politically motivated.

This came as no surprise to those who have been expressing their views about the candidates online. Representatives from media rights NGOs including Fundamedios and Usuarios Digitales say their websites have suffered technical attacks over the past three months, which have typically followed the publication of election-related materials, such as guides on where and how to cast your vote and how to keep track of poll numbers as they come in. Along with pro-opposition websites, they saw a sharp decline in traffic on the evening of the election, over local ISPs." - Ellery Roberts Biddle, Global Voices Advocacy
otf  ecuador  southamerica  election  social  twitter  access  shutdown 
april 2017 by dmcdev
Known Unknowns: An Analysis of Twitter Censorship in Turkey #research
"Twitter identifies Turkey as the country issuing the largest number of censorship requests, so we focused our attention there. Collecting over 20 million Turkish tweets from late 2014 to early 2015, we discovered over a quarter million censored tweets two orders of magnitude larger than what Twitter itself reports. We applied standard machine learning / clustering techniques, and found the vast bulk of censored tweets contained political content, often critical of the Turkish government. Our work establishes that Twitter radically under-reports censored tweets in Turkey, raising the possibility that similar trends hold for censored tweets from other countries as well. We also discuss the relative ease of working around Twitter’s censorship mechanisms, although we can not easily measure how many users take such steps." Read the full research paper published by Rice University here: https://www.cs.rice.edu/~rst5/twitterTurkey/paper.pdf
otf  turkey  research  twitter  social  censor  access  speech 
march 2017 by dmcdev
UAE Authorities Arrest One Rights Activist and Extend the Detention of Another
"Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have detained prominent human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor, and extended the detention of activist Osama al-Najjar despite him having completed his sentence...Mansoor is a tireless human rights activist and an active social media user with more than 17k Twitter followers. He is the 2015 laureate of the Martin Ennals Foundation, which supports human rights defenders who are at risk...On Twitter, he regularly posts about human rights violations in UAE, which is an absolute monarchy. Just a few days before his arrest, he tweeted his concern about the continuous and arbitrary detention of Osama al-Najjar, who has not been released despite completing his three-year jail sentence." - Afef Abrougui, Global Voices Advocacy
otf  uae  arab  mena  speech  activism  twitter  social  jail  humanrights  bypass  bypassarab 
march 2017 by dmcdev
Twitter Walks a Fine Line in Russia
According to Twitter's most recent transparency report, from January to June of 2016, Russian authorities made 1,599 content removal requests and reported 1,698 accounts for violations. Twitter restricted 10 accounts and geo-blocked 182 tweets within Russian territory during that time period, putting Russia among the top six countries to have their block requests approved by Twitter. - Jack Margolin, Global Voices Advocacy
otf  russia  twitter  social 
february 2017 by dmcdev
Turkey reportedly blocks Facebook, Twitter after Russian ambassador assassination
Internet freedom group Turkey Blocks reported on Monday night that its monitoring network had detected "severe slowdowns" of the social media sites following the lethal shooting of Ambassador Andrey G. Karlov in a museum in Ankara. The Turkish government regularly imposes social media blackouts in the wake of terrorist attacks or periods of national crises such as this summer's attempted coup. - Amrita Khalid,Daily Dot
otf  turkey  censorship  access  social  facebook  twitter  russia 
december 2016 by dmcdev
140 Characters: Online Activists Harassed and Jailed in Arab Gulf States | @hrw
In a nod to Twitter's 140-character limit, this [Human Rights Watch] report presents the profiles of 140 prominent Bahrani, Kuwaiti, Omani, Qatari, Saudi, and Emirati social and political rights activists and dissidents, and their struggles to resist government efforts to silence them. All 140 have faced government retaliation for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and many have been arrested, tried, and sentenced to fines or prison terms. - Human Rights Watch
otf  arab  gulf  MENA  speech  awareness  media  twitter  social  socialmedia 
november 2016 by dmcdev
The anti-censorship tech inspired by Turkey's oppressive regime - @dailydot
Streisand, an open-source VPN suite, has been beating back creeping government censorship since 2014. - Patrick Howell O'Neill, Daily Dot
otf  turkey  censorship  Streisand  circumvention  twitter  speech  access 
august 2016 by dmcdev
Netizen Report: What do Zimbabwe, Kashmir, and Turkey Have in Common? Internet Censorship.
Zimbabwe: #ShutdownZim protests spark WhatsApp shutdown; Kashmiris report total suspension of Internet and mobile amid unrest; Turkey’s coup attempt sees a 50% drop in Internet traffic; Iranian leaders are not so sure about Pokemon, but might stop blocking Twitter; and more, from Global Voices
otf  netizenreport  censorship  access  awareness  privacy  security  zimbabwe  whatsapp  kashmir  turkey  iran  twitter  social 
july 2016 by dmcdev
Iranian Hardliners Want to Stop Blocking Twitter — to Defeat Saudi Propaganda - Global Voices Advocacy
A group of Iranian government hardliners, who typically stand at the forefront of policies curtailing freedom of expression, are demanding that Iran stop blocking Twitter.

This sudden change of tune has very little to do with the rights of Iranian users. Rather, they are making this move in an effort to ensure Iranian dominance in a so-called Twitter war with Saudi Arabia.
- Global Voices Advocacy
otf  iran  twitter  social  saudiarabia  speech  propaganda  MENA  humanrights 
july 2016 by dmcdev
Bahraini activist to be tried for tweets: lawyer - Reuters
Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab will face trial for tweets condemning the Gulf Arab kingdom's prison system and its involvement in the war in Yemen, his lawyer said on Sunday, and he could face up to 13 years in prison.

Rajab was arrested earlier this month on unspecified charges in what appears an escalating crackdown by the Sunni-led government that also included a court shutting down a main opposition society and a decision to strip the spiritual leader of the island's Shi'ite Muslim majority of his citizenship. - Reuters
otf  bahrian  MENA  twitter  social  speech  access  censorship  humanrights 
june 2016 by dmcdev
#IranVotes: Political Discourse on Iranian Twitter During the 2016 Parliamentary Elections | Berkman Center
New report "delves deep into Iran's Twittersphere, engaging in network analysis and content analysis to test claims that online spaces formed a key battleground in the contest. What [Small Media/Internet Monitor] found was a vibrant, political, and outward-looking online public engaged in a lively political debate about the country's future." Despite Twitter being officially blocked in Iran since 2009, the report found cites that the government estimates that there are around 4 milli...
otf  iran  election  twitter  social  vote  access  circumvention  censorship  MENA 
june 2016 by dmcdev
Ghana Considers Shut Down Of Social Media In Election Day Run-up – The Wilmington Journal
Ghanaians who use social media could find themselves staring at a blank screen instead of Facebook or Twitter under a plan now being considered by Ghana’s Police Service (GPS).

Superintendent Cephas Arthur, Public Affairs director of the GPS, said that blocking Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets during the upcoming elections would be in the best interests of the nation. - Wilmington Journal
otf  ghana  africa  social  access  censorship  facebook  twitter  election 
june 2016 by dmcdev
Chinese Blogger Who Compiled Protest Data Missing, Believed Detained - @RadioFreeAsia
A blogger and social media commentator who compiled meticulous daily lists of protests in China, making the results public via Google, Twitter and Weibo, has been incommunicado for nearly a week, along with his girlfriend, rights activists said on Tuesday. - Radio Free Asia
otf  radiofreeasia  china  asia  blogger  social  twitter  censorship  access  security 
june 2016 by dmcdev
More African countries are blocking Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp during elections — Quartz
Last week, Ghana, widely acknowledged as one of Africa’s role models for best democratic practice, caught democracy watchdogs off guard when the country’s police chief announced the government intends to shut down social media on voting day in November. The shutdown is to take place from 5 am to 7 pm “to ensure social media are not used to send misleading information that could destabilize the country.” - Hilary Matfess, Quartz
otf  africa  ghana  election  elections  shutdown  social  blackout  media  access  facebook  twitter  whatsapp 
june 2016 by dmcdev
Iran orders social media sites to store data inside country | Reuters
Iran has given foreign messaging apps a year to move data they hold about Iranian users onto servers inside the country, prompting privacy and security concerns on social media.

Iran has some of the strictest controls on internet access in the world and blocks access to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, although many users are able to access them through widely available software. - Reuters
otf  iran  mena  messaging  data  server  facebook  social  twitter  privacy 
june 2016 by dmcdev
Netizen Report: Facebook and Twitter Disappear in Uganda Amid Election Tensions
Social media blackout in Uganda; Mapping “disputed” areas could become a crime in India; Russian social mediaite convicted of promoting “separatism” online; Iranian blogger-techie released from prison; and more from Global Voices Advocacy's Netizen Report.
otf  netizenreport  facebook  twitter  uganda  india  russia  iran  blogger  access  awareness  privacy  security 
may 2016 by dmcdev
Netizen Report: That Time When the Internet in Ecuador Died
A temporary Internet outage that prevented Ecuadorians from accessing Google and YouTube was the company’s response to a government order, rather than the result of a technical glitch as previously thought; a A Cambodian human rights group is criticizing the recently passed Telecoms Law, which it claims undermines Cambodian citizens’ rights to free speech and privacy; Twitter's new managing director for Greater China gets off to an awkward start; and more. - Global Voices Advox
otf  ecuador  cambodia  twitter  china  social  awkward  access 
april 2016 by dmcdev
Dissidents Worry #TwitterisDead After Company Hires Former Chinese Military Officer · Global Voices
Chinese dissidents were not thrilled when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced on April 15 that the company has hired Kathy Chen as the new managing director for greater China. Chen previously worked for organizations affiliated with the People's Liberation Army and Ministry of Public Security in China, both state institutions. - Oiwan Lam, Global Voices
otf  china  twitter  social  asia  access  censorship  GFW 
april 2016 by dmcdev
Court Set to Hear Cartoonist @zunarkartunis's Challenge to Malaysia's Sedition Act - @BenarNews
Malaysia’s High Court is scheduled Thursday to hear a challenge to the Sedition Act lodged by a satirical cartoonist and his legal team on grounds that it contradicts the country’s constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech.

Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque – better known as Zunar – and attorneys Eric Paulsen and N. Surendran filed the challenge in October 2015 after Zunar was slapped with nine charges of sedition for tweets he sent criticizing the jailing of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges in February 2015. - Benar News
otf  benar  malaysia  zunar  cartoon  twitter  social  expression  speech  press  media  access 
april 2016 by dmcdev
Reading the World: The Internet and Political Change in Russia
Over the years since, Russian authorities have responded to online political activity with a relatively traditional set of moves. The Kremlin has introduced heavy censorship on new media outlets and Internet users, pressured domestic communications service and content providers to filter censored content and install a new version of Russia’s national online surveillance system, and threatened to block the services of international firms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter unless they complied with the Kremlin’s demands. It has surveilled members of the opposition and civic activists; in order to spread fear and encourage self-censorship, it has sent some dissidents, such as the Tatar activist Rafis Kashapov, to jail for criticizing the government online. In short, the government has bombarded Russian society with restrictions meant to curtail expression on the Internet; one recently proposed rule would fine Russian citizens who advocate the use of circumvention tools such as the anonymous browser Tor, which allow users to access censored material, for the offense of disseminating propaganda. - Andrei Soldatov, Foreign Affairs
otf  russia  kremlin  putin  google  facebook  twitter  social  tor  access  circumvention 
april 2016 by dmcdev
North Korea blocks Twitter, Facebook - @hneidig
North Korea announced this week that it has blocked access to Facebook and Twitter, according to ABC News.

The country already restricts internet access for most of its citizens, who are only able to see a limited version of the internet. But foreigners visiting the country typically had access to the entire Web.

The new restrictions will make it harder for visitors to share pictures or information about the rogue nation. - The Hill
otf  northkorea  facebook  twitter  social  censorship  access 
april 2016 by dmcdev
How Iranian authorities break their own censorship laws
Al-Alam, an Arabic-language station that belongs to the Iranian public television network, recently broadcast a screengrab of the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s Twitter account. Except… this channel wasn’t supposed to have access to Twitter. - The Observers
otf  iran  twitter  social  VPN  access  censorship  MENA 
march 2016 by dmcdev
Between Hashtags and Memes, Bolivian Leaders Push for Social Media Regulation
Bolivian Internet users are debating the political value of social media in response to president Evo Morales’ proposal to “regulate the social networks.”

Morales publicly described social networks as “instruments of imperialism” that can “bring down governments” last month. He compared them to a “garbage collector,” suggesting that the networks are used only for defamation and slander. - Mariana Leyton Escobar, Global Voices Advocacy
otf  social  bolivia  southamerica  facebook  whatsapp  twitter  censorship  speech  access 
march 2016 by dmcdev
Saudi Arabia Sentences Twitter User to 10 Years in Prison and 2,000 Lashes for Apostasy
Saudi Arabia has sentenced a Twitter user to 10 years in prison in addition to 2,000 lashes for publishing 600 tweets “which spread atheism” on the micro-blogging site. - Amira Al Hussaini, Global Voices Advocacy
otf  twitter  saudiarabia  saudi  MENA  speech  expression  humanrights  access 
february 2016 by dmcdev
How Ugandans Overturned An Election Day Social Media Blackout | Motherboard
When Ugandans went to the polls last Thursday in presidential and parliamentary elections, they participated in the most heavily-contested political battle since multiparty democracy began in 2005.

But they also discovered that their access to social media and mobile payment services had been cut off, part of a three-day ban by the government that limited political discussion and temporarily halted financial transactions across the country.

When the dust had cleared, incumbent, 30-year president Gen. Y.K. Museveni had been re-elected for another five-year term along with his National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, the leader of the largest opposition party was under arrest, and reports swirled of vote buying and excessive use of force by the police on opposition protesters. - G.S. Phillips and Grace Atuhaire, Motherboard
otf  Uganda  africa  censorship  blackout  election  media  speech  social  facebook  twitter  access 
february 2016 by dmcdev
Twitter and Facebook are blocked in Uganda as the country goes to the polls - Quartz
Voters in Uganda went to the polls this morning (Feb. 18) to vote for the country’s next president in what is considered to be the most competitive election since the advent of multiparty democracy a decade ago.
As the nation’s voters woke up and went to cast their ballots, Ugandans found that access to social media was blocked. - Omar Mohammed, Quartz
otf  uganda  africa  election  censorship  access  speech  twitter  facebook  social 
february 2016 by dmcdev
New @thenetmonitor report: “Openness and Restraint: Structure, Discourse, and Contention in Saudi Twitter”
Internet Monitor, a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, is delighted to announce the publication of “Openness and Restraint: Structure, Discourse, and Contention in Saudi Twitter,” the eighth in a series of special reports that focus on key events and new developments in Internet freedom.

Social, political, and religious content online is highly filtered by the Saudi government, and the offline media are tightly controlled. Twitter, however, is comparatively open: Saudi censors are unable to block individual accounts or tweets without blocking the entire site, and the site remains accessible for Saudi users. As a result, the platform has flourished. Saudi Arabia has a higher percentage of Twitter users than any other country in the world, and nearly a third of all tweets in the region come from Saudi Arabia. “Openness and Restraint,” authored by Helmi Noman, Robert Faris, and John Kelly, maps and analyzes the structure and content of the Saudi Twittersphere and identifies the communities that coalesce around different political, religious, social, and cultural topics and viewpoints. - Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
otf  berkman  Saudi  internetmonitor  research  censorship  twitter  social  speech  access 
december 2015 by dmcdev
Are Russian News Media Getting a Boost from Retweet Bots on Twitter?
Hundreds of what appear to be Twitter bots are artificially inflating the retweet and favorite counts of tweets with links to articles from some of Russia's top news agencies. Lawrence Alexander discovered that these same fake accounts have previously mass-posted links to scores of pro-Kremlin LiveJournal blogs—themselves part of a network of thousands. In this piece, Lawrence Alexander walks us through his research process. - Global Voices
otf  russia  putin  kremlin  sockpuppet  censorship  awareness  media  twitter  social  access 
december 2015 by dmcdev
Twitter faces local computer server demand by Russia
Russia's internet regulator has said that Twitter must store local users' data in the country. The policy marks a change in position because the watchdog Roskomnadzor had previously said the step would not be necessary. It cited a change in the social network's terms and conditions as the cause and the organisation is also pursuing Facebook over the matter. - BBC News
otf  russia  twitter  facebook  social  data  storage  surveillance  privacy 
november 2015 by dmcdev
In Venezuela, 140 Characters Can Land You in Jail
Seven people in Venezuela had to trade a keyboard for prison bars in 2014. Ordinary citizens who wrote messages on Twitter — that were considered criminal by the Venezuelan government — are now behind bars. In most cases, Venezuelan intelligence forces took them from their houses and workplaces and incarcerated them. - Odell Lopez Escote, Global Voices Advocacy
otf  venezuela  southamerica  spanish  speech  twitter  social  access 
november 2015 by dmcdev
New @berkmancenter Internet Monitor report: "Beyond the Wall: Mapping Twitter in China"
The report, authored by Sonya Yan Song, Robert Faris, and John Kelly, maps and analyzes the structure and content found on Twitter centered around users in mainland China, offering a rare look at the activity of Chinese Internet users on a platform that is largely unregulated by the state and only reachable through the use of tools that circumvent state-mandated Internet filters. - Berkman Center for Internet & Society
otf  berkman  internet  china  asia  twitter  tweet  social  speech  access 
november 2015 by dmcdev
With Google and Twitter still blocked in China, executives woo Beijing
Following in the footsteps of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg -- who gave a much-discussed speech in Chinese late last month at Tsinghua University -- senior executives from Google and Twitter made appearances in Beijing on Monday, attending a technology conference hosted by San Francisco-based TechCrunch.

“In fact, we do hope to provide service in China, and we continue to communicate with the Chinese government. This is also why I’m here this week,” said Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet/Google, according to a Chinese-language transcript of his remarks provided by organizers. He added that the company has “always been in touch with the Chinese government" and that Chinese officials had visited Google offices in California in the past. - LA Times
otf  google  twitter  social  China  Asia  access  censorship 
november 2015 by dmcdev
Benchmarking Demand: Turkey's Contested Internet
Turkey is a striking example of how a sudden dip in media freedom may impact the social and political climate of a country, according to this report from the Internet Policy Observation project. The goal of the project is to understand how people in Turkey perceive and value the debate over Internet freedoms in Turkey and how they employ the Internet and social media as alternative information resources within a heavily censored mass media environment. This is an important question more broadly as 85% of the globe’s population live within censored media systems like Turkey. - Internet Policy Observatory
otf  internet  policy  turkey  censorship  social  access  twitter 
november 2015 by dmcdev
Three Jailed For Tweeting 'Rumors' of Chemical Blast in China's Shandong
Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong have jailed three people for sending out tweets about an explosion at a chemical factory near their homes in Zibo city that wasn't reported by the country's tightly controlled media.

"Zibo police have sentenced two people surnamed Zhang to five days' administrative detention after arresting them and an individual surnamed Chen for spreading rumors," the Zibo city police department said in a statement. "The person named Chen is still under investigation."

"The police will crack down hard on anyone using the Internet to spread rumors," the statement said. - Yang Fan, Radio Free Asia
otf  China  Asia  tweet  twitter  social  speech  censorship  access 
october 2015 by dmcdev
Ankara terror attack: Turkey censors media coverage of bombings as Twitter and Facebook 'blocked'
The government issued a ban on broadcasting footage of the blast at a peace rally. - Lizzie Dearden, Independent
otf  turkey  twitter  social  censorship  access  press 
october 2015 by dmcdev
How to Encrypt Your Twitter DMs
"This is now possible because of Twitter's recent lifting of the 140 character limit on direct messages: users can now chat on, and on, and there is enough space for encrypted conversations to take place." - Joseph Cox, Motherboard
otf  twitter  encryption  social  privacy  security  awareness 
september 2015 by dmcdev
Fundraiser for @mideastyouth at Twitter HQ on Tuesday 9/1
What: A fundraiser for a Middle Eastern organization, Mideast Youth. Discover the platforms we’ve built in the last 10 years and the impact these tools and interactive campaigns have had in our societies, and why we need your support. Our small but solid team is mostly built of queer women in the Arab world.

Where: Twitter HQ (1355 Market St #900, San Francisco, CA 94103)

RSVP link in link above

When: Tuesday, September 1, from 6pm-8pm

Presenter Bio:

Esra’a is a recipient of the Berkman Award from Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society for “outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society,” and is currently a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. Previously, she was an Echoing Green Fellow and a Senior TED Fellow. In 2011 she was featured in Fast Company as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” and awarded the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity. In 2014, she was featured in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list of social entrepreneurs making an impact in the world. The same year, Mideast Youth received the Human Rights Tulip, awarded annually to an organization which promotes and supports human rights in innovative ways. She lives in Bahrain.
otf  MENA  event  twitter  awareness  CivilSociety 
august 2015 by dmcdev
Malaysia: Seeking to Curb Social Media
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission plans to meet with representatives of Facebook, Google and Twitter “soon to seek their cooperation to stem the increasing tide of false information and rumors,” Communications Minister Salleh Said Keruak wrote on his blog. - Reuters
otf  Malaysia  asia  social  access  facebook  google  twitter  censorship 
august 2015 by dmcdev
Twitter Mischief Plagues Mexico's Election
The top contenders in Mexico’s presidential campaign are engaged in a Twitter spam war, with armies of “bots” programmed to cast aspersions on opposing candidates and disrupt their social-media efforts. This large-scale political spamming could foreshadow online antics that campaigners may increasingly resort to in other countries. - Mike Orcutt, MIT Technology Review
otf  twitter  mexico  social  bot  access  awareness 
july 2015 by dmcdev
Inside Out: Vietnam’s Search & Browser Wars from the User’s Perspective
Research explaining how local search engine Cốc Cốc is beating Google and helping Vietnamese netizens circumvent government censors to access Facebook and Twitter. Also, why some Vietnamese (still) feel betrayed by Yahoo. - Asia Digital Life Project
otf  Vietnam  viettan  social  facebook  twitter  access  awareness  privacy 
june 2015 by dmcdev
Russia’s Online Assault Evaporates Internet Freedom
Last week, the Kremlin’s Internet and media regulator Roskomnadzor sent letters to the U.S.-based web services Twitter, Facebook and Google, requesting large amounts of private information on Russian’s who use their services. Additionally, Roskomnadzor authorities asked that various pages deemed illegal for advocating “unsanctioned protests” in Russia be permanently taken down.

If the requests are not honored, the letters warned, the websites may be completely blocked in Russia. - Doug Bernard, VOA
otf  Russia  twitter  facebook  google  censorship  surveillance  access  privacy  security 
june 2015 by dmcdev
Russian censorship approach: Threaten Facebook, Twitter and Google’s bottom lines
The Russian communications oversight authority has put Facebook, Twitter and Google on notice. In May the agency, known by its acronym Roskomnadzor, sent a letter to the companies reminding them that they need to comply with the country’s Internet laws.

Roskomnadzor has vast powers: It can summarily order Internet service providers to shut off access to websites, as it has done with several independent news and analysis sites; it can levy fines; and it can ask the prosecutor’s office to launch criminal charges where it perceives a violation. In the case of foreign companies, it can team up with other agencies to drive them out of Russia. This is how contemporary Russian censorship works: by waving the stick of financial consequences. - Masha Gessen, Reuters (blog)
otf  Russia  facebook  google  twitter  social  policy  censorship  access  privacy 
june 2015 by dmcdev
There are now 160 million Internet users in the Arab world but the wrong tweet could still land you in jail
"Even after the promise of 2010-12’s Arab Spring freedom uprising and the expansion of Internet usage in the region, an offending tweet or Facebook post could still have you arrested and charged in many Arab countries, says a new report. The 96-page report #Turn_around_and_go_back: Internet in the Arab world, by the Cairo-based The Arab Network for Human Rights Information, estimates that there are 157 million internet users in the region stretching from Mauritania to Yemen. About half of these users, around 78 million, have Facebook accounts and Twitter is rapidly gaining popularity as a social media platform with 7 million users in Saudi Arabia and 4 million in Egypt respectively." -Farid Y. Farid, Quartz
otf  MENA  social  facebook  twitter  access  censorship 
may 2015 by dmcdev
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