UPDATED: For the first time since 2009, millions of Iranians were able to share their status updates on Facebook, for one day, anyway. The New York Times reported that Iran’s government restored its block on Facebook and Twitter Tuesday, blaming a temporary technical glitch for their brief availability in the country.
The only debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was a substantive and spirited affair, with supporters on Facebook weighing in on everything from taxes to abortion and from Iran to Libya.
The seemingly never-ending conflict between Israel and its Mideast neighbors has spread to Facebook, as an Israeli hacker who goes by the name of Hannibal posted the email addresses and passwords of 85,000 users of the social network from Saudi Arabia and Iran.
According to some Iranian activists, authorities have taken to sending rights campaigners and intellectuals they suspect of engaging in anti-state activities a friend request to find out what information is being posted.
As part of an experiment called “Behind Closed Doors on the Net”, five journalists from Canada, France, Switzerland and Belgium will be locked in a house from February 1st to 5th. The goal will be to determine what image of the news they receive when interpreting solely through Social Media. This analysis can certainly help provide some analysis into Twitter, which unexpectedly rose as the primary communication channel for protestors during the recent Iranian election, and has recently been used a tool for aid in Haiti.
Tonight Facebook will be posting on their blog that they’ve launched the Persian translation of the site to help those in Iran communicate more effectively. What’s not as clear is if Iran has unblocked access to Facebook which had been difficult to access from within the country according to numerous sources. This evening Facebook stated that, “because of the sudden increase in activity we decided to launch it sooner than planned.”
One of the world’s most hardline leaders may soon lose his position as the President of Iran thanks to the increasing level of free public expression, much of which appears to be taking place on Facebook. Only three weeks ago I wrote about Iran blocking Facebook, but within days the site was back up and running. Mirhossein Mousavi, the opposition candidate, and former Prime Minister, has experienced tremendous growth in his Facebook Page from around 5,000 fans just a few weeks ago to almost 40,000 as of today.
This morning I’ve been receiving numerous reports that Iran has blocked Facebook. After doing a little searching around I found an article stating that it was blocked “to prevent supporters of the leading opposition candidate from using the site for his campaign.” Mir Hossein Mousavi has attracted over 5,200 supporters on the site. While it’s far from a majority of voters, it was clearly the beginning of a movement that the Ahmadinejad regime was not a fan of.
With the new Facebook terms of service ready to be passed, many are practically oblivious to the fact that the Facebook Governance vote ever took place but some of them may become aware once Facebook is no longer available to them. One statement in the latest Facebook terms has a few Iranians concerned, that they may no longer be able to use the site, even though Iran is no longer blocking Facebook.