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Twitter/Iran Elections Controversy

Ask and ye shall receive.ts-twitter

Elections in Iran last Friday have resulted in explosive violence in the streets of Tehran this weekend.  Current President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proclaimed a landslide victory.  His rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi was placed under house arrest (according to unconfirmed reports based on tweets being sent from Iran) yet continued to called upon his supporters to continue to protest the election results and he’s been using Twitter to help, posting as Mousavi1388.

Now here’s where Twitter came and saved the day.  Iran had already blocked Facebook and YouTube in an attempt to silence the Iranian citizens’ ability to communicate with the outside world.  But they forgot about Twitter.  Tweets have been streaming from Iran and #IRANELECTIONS has been one of the top trending topics for the past four days.

Apparently, Twitter had been planning a routine maintenance shutdown last night for what would have been mid-afternoon in Iran.  Considering that much of the information out of Iran is coming to the West via Twitter, and given Mousavi’s own pleas that the maintenance not occur until the crisis in Tehran is over, Twitter released the following statement:

A critical network upgrade must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter. In coordination with Twitter, our network host had planned this upgrade for tonight. However, our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran. Tonight’s planned maintenance has been rescheduled to tomorrow between 2-3p PST (1:30a in Iran).

The twitterverse is keeping the pressure on Twitter and NTT America by asking that the maintenance not occur at all, until the crisis is over.  But I say kudos to Twitter for listening to its users.  Also, smart marketing.  They have the most powerful device for providing up to the minute information about the situation in Iran.  CNN, what are you doin’?  Probably trying to beam Mousavi in on one of your silly holograms.

Meanwhile, the Iranians remain flummoxed about keeping information from leaking out via the interwebz, while hackers and nerds in Iran (and worldwide) are providing each other filter busters and making sure that secret information about getting around the Iranian blackout stay in private tweet streams rather than public tweet streams.

I think my head just short circuited.




June 16, 2009 - Posted by | News You May or May Not Use, Politiks | , ,


  1. I’m really so excited for the Iranian people. I’m not going to say the word “revolution” because that word carries a lot of weight, especially in Iran. However, it’s nice to hear that they are finally mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. The establishment is clearly being challenged and rightfully so.

    It’s painfully obvious that this whole election was just a scam. How in the world are you able to declare a winner two hours after the polls close, when 40 million people voted in an election that was all done by paper ballot?

    The idea that there’s an election in Iran is somewhat of a joke anyways. The Supreme Leader is really in charge, so what you have is more or less a dictatorship that is cloaking itself in the idea of democracy. Still, it’s nice to see that there is change coming to this country.

    Comment by blah | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. Can someone please explain to me why Mousavi was placed under house arrest? I mean other than the obvious – that Ahmadinejad is a dictator?

    Comment by TT2 | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  3. That’s pretty much the answer. I know he applied for a protest permit and was denied. Perhaps that is the reason? I don’t know. The Guardian Council is “looking into the matter” regarding the election results, but that doesn’t really mean much. Once the Ayatollah stamped off on Ahmadinejad being named the winner, all bets were pretty much off.

    Comment by blah | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  4. I love how technology enables this kind of communication. Every year it gets better. About 10 years ago, when Russia was in danger of being taken over by hard-liners, I had heard that an American citizen handed Yeltsin a satellite phone, so that he could call our President and assure him that he was still in control.

    Comment by WhoMee | June 16, 2009 | Reply

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