Today’s protests in Iran may have had some amount of organization occur through social media, including a Facebook page called the 25th Bahman.
I qualify the extent to which protest organizers may have used Facebook because Iran blocks access to the social network along with many other types of media, so people in the country have limited ability to get any message from Internet sources.
Now a post on Wired makes it sound like Facebook played a more definitive role in organizing the protests than what an (emigrated) Iranian friend told me this morning regarding censorship in the country; and apparently a significant number of people in Iran have figured out how to circumvent the government’s blockage of the Internet.
The blogger had spoken with someone affiliated with the 25th Bahman page on Facebook, who said:
Within days of the announcement for the solidarity rally, almost 50,000 users came onto the Facebook page and the hits and the views were upwards of 12 million. When we ran the numbers, up to 90 percent of them were coming from Iran.
The rally itself had about 4,000 participants show up at Tehran’s Imam Hossein Square, and the objective of the protest was to show solidarity with Egypt and Tunisia. The organizers of the rally, Mir Hussein Muosavi and Mahdi Karroubi, were denied permits for the event. That’s when organizers formed the page on Facebook to spread the word about the rally and the government’s attempt to censor it.
What do you think about the social network’s continuing use by protest organizers worldwide? And how do you suppose so many Iranians have been able to access Facebook despite the local government’s effort to block the site?