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Twitter in Iran

An Israeli conspiracy, or totally overblown

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Protesters rallying in Tehran today.(Getty Images)

Is Twitter an evil Israeli plot to stir worldwide unrest? Depends who you ask. According to the Jerusalem Post, an anonymous writer posting to the Charting Stocks website charged that “right-wing Israeli interests are engaged in an all-out Twitter attack with hopes of delegitimizing the Iranian election and causing instability within Iran.” The author went on to charge the Post with promoting three Iranian Twitterers, implying that the paper had an interest in the outcome of the protest. (The paper says its Iran coverage is guided “solely by professional considerations.”)

Sky News, meantime, is reporting the Iranian opposition is using an Israeli service called Fring to make calls over WiFi networks and bypass text-messaging blocks. And earlier this week, Israel’s consul for media and public affairs, David Saranga—an avid tweeter—told a roomful of Twitter aficionados gathered in New York for the inaugural 140 Character Conference (named for the popular message service’s text limit) that the rise of social media was allowing him and other government PR types to redress “incorrect information” and speak directly to the public, bypassing traditional filters. At the same conference, al Jazeera’s head of new media technology, Moeed Ahmad, told the audience that he was also counting on Twitter as a means to inject “authentic information” into the public sphere.

And in Business Week, Joel Schechtman is reporting that only about 8,600 Twitter users are registered inside Iran—and argues that the mass protests are being organized the old-fashioned way, via text message and word of mouth. “Social media is not at all a prime mover of what is happening on the ground,” Ethan Zuckerman, a senior researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, told Schectman. “The reason social media is so interesting [for the press] is that the international media doesn’t have its members on the ground.”

Which would have to mean—and this is the great part—that the Iranian government’s refusal to extend journalists’ visas is just part of the evil Israeli plot.

JPost Accused of Masterminding ‘Iranian Twitter Revolution’ [JPost]
Iranians Use New Web Tool to Be Heard [Sky News]
Winning the War, in 140 Characters or Less [JPost]
Iran’s Twitter Revolution? Maybe Not Yet [Business Week]

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Twitter in Iran

An Israeli conspiracy, or totally overblown

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