Twitter's Iran Role Is All Hype

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2009 12:44 PM CDT
An Iranian man uses his mobile phone in front of opposition graffiti in Farsi reading "Ahmadi-bye-bye", referring to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on a street in Tehran, Iran, June 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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(Newser) – Tech-loving journalists need to chill out about Twitter’s supposed role in Iran’s unrest, writes Jack Shafer of Slate. “I’ve found it more noise than signal,” he writes. Twitter’s already produced a lot of erroneous stories—like the 3 million people tweeters claimed were at one demonstration, or the house arrest of Mousavi, or the annulment of the election by authorities.

There’s a potential dark side to the Twitter Revolution as well. Twitter’s a poor tool for organizing dissent against a repressive regime, because that regime can read your tweets. During Moldova’s “Twitter revolution,” there’s evidence that the government used the microblogger to spread disinformation of its own. Authorities can—and probably soon will—start sending organizational tweets, then busting anyone who shows up.