Friday, January 14, 2011

Riots Via Social Media

We talked before about how Iranian protesters were able to leverage Twitter to tell their local friends and family, and the world, about events as they were unfolding in 2009.  Most posts covered the details of the crackdowns on Tehran University students that were protesting the elections.

Youths in Tunisia, a North African nation, used Facebook recently to riot and protest the unemployment situation.  They have an average of 14% unemployment.  The movement is leveraging social networks, including Facebook, the organize their protests and to educate and mobilize others across Tunisia.

One source said 1 in 10 Tunisians has a Facebook account.  YouTube and other video sharing sites are banned and newspapers are heavily censored, so many Tunisians use Facebook to share information and videos.

Selim Ben Hassen, the Paris-based president of the Byrsa citizens movement, gave Facebook the bulk of the credit as a way to get information disseminated.   Selim Ben Hassen said, "The psychological barrier of fear has fallen. People now know it's possible to go into the streets, cry 'Freedom!' and say 'We don't want a president for life.'"

"Jobless youths in Tunisia riot using Facebook", Bouazza Ben Bouazza and Elaine Ganley, Associated Press, January 11, 2011.

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