Mideast Govts Sabotage Dissidents' Social Media

Monday, 23 May 2011 03:33 PM

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Middle East governments are turning the tables on dissidents who are spreading their messages of protest through social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. The autocratic regimes are now using automated message to flood the sites and drown out dissent, The Washington Post reported.

Dissidents’ Facebook pages are being filled with pro-government messages, and Twitter accounts are being filled with messages containing old sports scores and nature scenes.

Wissam Tarif, head of the Middle East human rights organization Insan, said his website has been attacked. “There is a war itself going on in cyberspace,” he told the Post.

The tactic has been used previously in such countries as China and Iran. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said last month, “In a number of countries, democracy and human rights activists and independent bloggers found their e-mails hacked or their computers infected with spyware that reported back on their every keystroke. Digital activists have been tortured so they would reveal their passwords,” the Post reported.

The tactics go beyond hacking. In some Arab countries activists have received death threats in their e-mails or on Facebook or Twitter, according to the Post.

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