Is The Internet America’s Greatest Weapon? [Headlines]
The President of Belarus pushes a statewide ban on Facebook in an effort to prevent protesters to organize their political protests via the social media outlet.
Alexander Lukashenko is no fan of the internet. This weekend, however, Lukashenko took things a step further by cracking down on protesters who organized themselves online, and pushing his statewide ban on Facebook, Twitter and the popular Russian social networking site Vkontakte. Why? Because he is worried that young people are using it to try and give momentum to their political protests. Claiming that opposition to his regime is being run by foreign countries, he told AFP that the opposition in Minsk “is using social networks to call for strikes. I will watch and observe — and then whack them in such a way that they won’t even have time to run across the border.” In the minds of dictators like Lukashenko, the Internet has the ability to make everyone an American — subject to the same cultural beliefs, the same politics, the same rights. That’s something they are terrified by. And that means that the question now isn’t whether social media can start a revolution, but whether dictators believe it can. GigaOm