Syria & Sudan Hoping That Greater Social Network Use Will Keep Regimes In Power

from the interesting-reaction dept

With the protests leading to political change in Tunisia and Egypt getting so much attention (including for the role played by social media as a part of that), there have been questions about what country is "next." So it's interesting to see that the governments in both Syria and Sudan appear to think that social media tools may work more in their favor than against them. Wired reports that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, an indicted war criminal, has announced that he wants to extend computer and internet usage among the youth, in the belief that young, connected people will "combat opposition" to the regime, rather than enhance it.

Meanwhile over in Syria, the government has lifted (widely ignored) bans on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter as part of an attempt to create a "new era" in the Middle East.

Whether or not either of these strategies will work for the regimes in charge remains to be seen -- but it's yet another reminder that technology does not inherently favor any particular party, but can be put to use for very different purposes by different groups.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Tim, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 4:20am

    It's interesting to see this. I've been reading a book called The Lacuna which talks about Trotsky vs Stalin back in the 1930s and how Stalin manipulated the population to take control of the Soviet Union. My thinking is that this couldn't happen now, but maybe I'm wrong...

    I'd like to think that social media, Twitter and the like, make it harder to pull the wool over people's eyes, but in the end, I guess a state controlled media can still manipulate the stories reaching the masses.

    Interesting to see how this pans out though...

    My original post is here btw....

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 5:20am

    Syria

    The Syrian president is a smart guy. He was educated in the West and knows very well which way the wind is blowing.

    Unfortunately he is maintained in power by a much less enlightened bunch of folks and so he has to be cautious. It may be that he sees the internet as a way to do an end run around the old guard.

    I say this on the basis of information supplied by a friend who has met him personally.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 5:54am

    Bread and circuses, anyone?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:08am

    Anything that opens the internet for a more educated and informed populace is a step in the right direction.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:43am

    The wind is blowing and the stench is horrible at the top...

    It seems that business as usual might not be as easy as it once was in a connected world. Wow!!! politicians might actually need to listen to the population more and the corporations and lobbyist less.

     

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      Joe (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 8:13am

      Re: The wind is blowing and the stench is horrible at the top...

      Oh, the horror!

       

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        Hephaestus (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 9:45am

        Re: Re: The wind is blowing and the stench is horrible at the top...

        LOL ... I had this Image in my head of george bush running around in circles screaming ... ears covered ... yelling I won't listen to the Sheeple over and over ... followed by his head exploding.

         

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 9:45am

    Assuming your metric of social success for a nation is the satisfaction of the populace, anything that empowers that populace must necessarily benefit the nation - whether it brings down a regime or sustains one, whatever happens is more likely to be a reflection of the will of the people.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 5:34am

    The industrial revolution brought about popular struggle. The digital revolution will do exactly the same. You can expect more Egypts.

     

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