Thursday, October 27, 2016

Twitter’s ‘Firehose’ of Tweets Is Incredibly Valuable—and Just as Dangerous - Bloomberg

Troubling Twitter trends

"But if Twitter provides a rare outlet for criticism of repressive regimes, it’s also useful to those regimes for tracking down and punishing critics. In September 2012 a Saudi Twitter user named Bader Thawab was arrested for tweeting “down with the House of Saud.” In March 2014 an eight-year prison sentence was upheld for a Saudi man who’d mocked the king and religious officials on Twitter and YouTube. The following May, a Saudi man in a wheelchair named Dolan bin Bakheet was sentenced to 18 months in prison and 100 lashes for using Twitter to complain about his medical care. In all, there have been dozens of Twitter-related prosecutions in Saudi Arabia, according to Human Rights Watch.

Twitter is still popular in the kingdom—the service has added 200,000 active users there since 2014, according to the Arab Social Media Report—but it no longer hosts much dissent. Activists are careful to tweet in coded language, if they tweet at all. “People don’t openly discuss important things on Twitter anymore,” says Ali Adubisi, a Saudi human-rights activist. “Twitter is totally different, totally silent, totally weak.”"
Twitter’s ‘Firehose’ of Tweets Is Incredibly Valuable—and Just as Dangerous - Bloomberg
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