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June 2, 2009

China Blocks Twitter and Bing, Rest Of Web Too

It seems as if China is blocking Twitter as well as Microsoft’s new search engine Bing. Other blocked sites is WordPress.com, YouTube, Flickr, Hotmail and several others. Ryan McLaughlin blogs from China and thinks the block is due to the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4.

I can only predict the next few days will see more and more sites being blocked, hopefully with things returning to normal shortly after (though if past blocks are anything to go by, it could be weeks or months).

Hat tip: Mashable

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April 24, 2009

China Blocks Plurk, Twitter Next?

It seems as if microblogging service Plurk is blocked in China, at least according to Amir Salihefendic who works on the project. TechCrunch seemingly confirms. Bad news for Chinese Plurk lovers, and users who in any way like to communicate with people in China.

Does this mean that Twitter is next?

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April 17, 2009

TinyURL Blocked In Saudi Arabia

Committee to Protect Bloggers reports that TinyURL has been blocked in Saudi Arabia. The URL shortener service is not the only option out there for your shortened URLs, but it is the default one for Twitter, so if you want to reach the Saudi followers you’d better use another service. I should also link the Facebook group that wants TinyURL unblocked, but I doubt it’ll do any good, at least not with a mere 19 members.

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March 25, 2009

China Bans YouTube

Video browsers in general, and bloggers in particular, should know that China has blocked YouTube. The Reuters report tells us that the ban has been in place over the past 24 hours, and the reason is supposedly unknown. However, Committee to Protect Bloggers posted this:

Xinhua, the Chinese news agency reported that the government blocked access to the site after a fabricated video showing C hinese police brutally beating up Tibetans during the riots last year. The description of the offending video fits one that was posted by the Tibetan government in exile and is a collage of varios clips showing the police putting down the riots brutally.

This is not the first time YouTube is banned in China. Several other countries have bans in effect as well. More on Techmeme.

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March 23, 2009

Iranian Blogger Death Follow-Up

Huffington Post has an interesting piece up on Omid Reza Mir Sayafi’s death in an Iranian prison, written by an Iranian student (under a pseudonym of course). It brings some perspective, and springs from Sayafi’s writing, which is interesting of course. You can read his blog too, despite it being pulled offline, using the amazing Wayback machine.

Another interesting post on the topic is on Global Voices Online, about the Iranian online censorship. It puts things into perspective.

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June 29, 2008

Boing Boing Deletes Blogger, Not the First Time?

This is alarming. Sex blogger, journalist, and author Violet Blue’s posts on Boing Boing, including all mentions, has been deleted (NSFW), without any explanation whatsoever:

It was brought to my attention this weekend that every Boing Boing post (except one) with my name in it is gone. It might have happened a while ago, and no, I have no idea what’s going on. How do you even ask someone about something like that? Personally, I never delete posts for any reason so I just think it’s really weird.

Valleywag broke the story, with no real explanation as to why, and so far nothing from the Boing Boing people. They do point out that it isn’t some new anti-sex policy, since recent content still is playful enough. So what happened?

Also: Is this happening frequently? This post certainly raises questions, doesn’t it? We’ll try to follow up on this one as answers subside. One thing’s for sure though, this isn’t the way to play the game in the blogosphere, not even for a bigshot like Boing Boing.

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May 30, 2008

British newspaper’s hosting of anti-immigrant blog raises questions over censorship

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“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Evelyn Beatrice Hall

Most people value everyone’s right to free speech, and the Internet is arguably a medium where it’s much easier to exercise that right, but every so often questions are raised over how much should be allowed to stand, particularly when an organisation hosts user-generated content.

Recently, The Telegraph — a British broadsheet newspaper — has been spotlighted for hosting a blog written by Richard Bambrook, a prominent member of the the British National Party (BNP) known for their outspoken views on immigrants.

Recently, he posted a blog entry under the heading “Blame the immigrants” in which he proceeded to blame the majority of knife and gun crime on immigrants. “I have had enough of people being afraid to actually say what they really want to say. Yes … it is the immigrants,” he wrote.

A Telegraph spokeswoman defended the newspaper’s decision to host the blog, suggesting they’d had no complaints, adding, “we believe our readers are intelligent and discerning enough to avoid the content they dislike and report that which offends. That doesn’t mean the Telegraph necessarily endorses their opinions nor promotes them.”

The Telegraph launched its My Telegraph community blogging platform last year, and now boasts a 20,000-strong membership. Moderators check for offensive/illegal content.

The fact is that Bambrook hasn’t written anything illegal, and if The Telegraph refuses to publish his comments, he’ll simply publish them somewhere else.

(Via The Guardian)

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May 21, 2008

Should YouTube Yank Terrorist Videos?

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It’s amazing that bin Laden, the world’s most hunted terrorist, is able to pre-announce that he has a new video coming.

I’m starting to wonder if soon Al Qaeda will just run trailers before movies start at the theater.

Google-owned YouTube has denied a request from U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (D) to remove videos that are “sponsored” by the terror organization. According to the online video giant, these vids don’t violate its community guidelines.

It’s the age-old battle of freedom of speech. In a letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Lieberman wrote the following:

“Islamist terrorist organizations use YouTube to disseminate their propaganda, enlist followers and provide weapons training…YouTube also, unwittingly, permits Islamist terrorist groups to maintain an active, pervasive and amplified voice, despite military setbacks or successful operations by the law enforcement and intelligence communities.”

Do you think videos that show the killing of U.S. soldiers should be banned from YouTube? Or, is Google right to keep their Website censor-free?

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