Turkish Government Blocks Twitter

“This entity called Twitter, this YouTube, this Facebook, they have shaken families to their roots … I don’t understand how people of good sense could defend this Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. There are all kinds of lies there.” – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan reacting to international protests against his government blocking Twitter

 

Bald könnte Twitter wie Facebook aussehen

Bald könnte Twitter wie Facebook aussehen:

Ich glaube, ich halte das eher für eine schlechte Idee. Mir gefällt die unterschiedliche Nutzung der beiden Plattformen. Mal schauen, was da noch so kommt.

Twitter Testing Major Profile Redesign That Looks a Lot Like Facebook.” (Mashable, 2014/02/11)

 

The RNC Implies That Racism “Ended” with Rosa Parks, 58 Yrs. Ago

On Twitter, the RNC implies that racism in America “ended” with Rosa Parks, fifty-eight years ago

Fifty-eight years, ago (counted back from 2013), on December 1, 1955, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, a black woman from Montgomery, Alabama, refused to step to the back of a bus to sit down in the ‘colored section,’ marking the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott to end segregationist laws in the U.S.

Photograph of Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King jr. (ca. 1955) Original caption reads: "Mrs. Rosa Parks altered the negro progress in Montgomery, Alabama, 1955, by the bus boycott she began. National Archives record ID: 306-PSD-65-1882 (Box 93)." Source: Ebony Magazine Source: USIA / National Archives and Records Administration Records of the U.S. Information Agency Record Group 306 This work was obtained from the now defunct United States Information Agency. In 1999 the agency was merged into the Bureau of Public Affairs which is the part of the United States Department of State. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of 17 U.S.C. § 105. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rosaparks.jpg
Photograph of Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King jr. (ca. 1955)
Original caption reads:
“Mrs. Rosa Parks altered the negro progress in Montgomery, Alabama, 1955, by the bus boycott she began. National Archives record ID: 306-PSD-65-1882 (Box 93).”
Source: Ebony Magazine
Source:
USIA / National Archives and Records Administration Records of the U.S. Information Agency Record Group 306
This work was obtained from the now defunct United States Information Agency. In 1999 the agency was merged into the Bureau of Public Affairs which is the part of the United States Department of State. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of 17 U.S.C. § 105.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rosaparks.jpg

The Civil Rights Movement according to the RNC

This year, the Republican National Committee sort of stepped in it with a tweet that suggested racism in America ended after Rosa Parks. As Politicususa reports, the tweet said:

Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism.

That statement is very questionable, to say the least. The pronouncement of the end of racism in America is premature today, and would have been even more so by orders of magnitude almost sixty years ago.

Racism is alive and well

I would like to mention just a few issues to illustrate this reality: The Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman case, the level of hostility against President Obama that goes way beyond any reasonable (and deserved!) criticism of his administration’s policies, and countless stories about harassment and excessive use of force by the police, in particular against people of color.

We, ahem, misspoke

The RNC then deleted the tweet above and replaced it with this one:

Previous tweet should have read “Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in fighting to end racism.”

To be fair, everyone can make mistakes in social media. But the GOP and the RNC are not just “Joe Sixpack” who happens to have a smartphone to tweet from.

Ending racism with voter ID laws?

In the past election cycles, the GOP has been actively working to make voting harder for (poor) people of color and other demographic groups who would likely support Democrats by implementing various voter ID laws (see here, here, and here). In this light, the RNC’s honoring of Rosa Parks and their very loose interpretation of civil rights history might be seen much more cynically.

You can watch a discussion of the issue from the progressive talk show Majority Report with Sam Seder here:

Read more:

RNC Tries to Cover Tracks Over Tweet Saying Racism has Ended.” (Justin Baragona, Politicususa, 2013/12/02)

Manipulation von Wahlen per Twitter in Südkorea

Manipulation von Wahlen per Twitter in Südkorea

Dass die sozialen Medien nicht nur neue, emanzipatorische Partizipationsmöglichen im Netz ermöglichen, hat zum Beispiel der Netztheoretiker Evgeny Morozov in seinem Buch “The Net Delusion” ausführlich dargestellt.

Image: boss by gaglias / flickr | used under the https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ | some color adjustments were made
Image: boss by gaglias / flickr | used under the https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ | some color adjustments were made

Über Plattformen wie Twitter und Facebook wird seitens von Regierungen und Großunternehmen mittlerweile versucht, die öffentliche Meinung manipulativ zu beeinflussen.

Ein Beispiel für ersteres gibt es jetzt aus Südkorea. Dort haben nach Berichten im Vorfeld der Präsidentschaftswahl der Inlandsgeheimdienst und das Verteidigungsministerium rund 24,2 Mio. Tweets verschickt, um die öffentliche Meinung zu steuern.

Der Inlandsgeheimdienst NIS (National Intelligence Service) soll 1,2 Mio. Tweets gesendet haben, um die Opposition zu diskreditieren. Die Abteilung Cyberwarfare des Verteidigungsministeriums soll 23 Mio. Tweets verschickt haben, um die öffentliche Meinung im Sinne des aktuellen Präsidenten Park Geun-hye zu beeinflussen.

Mehr lesen:

Cyberwahlskandal in Südkorea: Südkoreas Präsidentin lässt sich von Agenten ins Amt twittern.” (Ok-Hee Jeong, ZEIT ONLINE, 05.12.2013)

In English:

South Korea’s Spy Agency, Military Sent 24.2 Million Tweets to Manipulate Election.” (Lee Yoo Eun, Global Voices, 25.11.2013)

 

House Republicans Announce On Twitter To Vote Against Obamacare For The 37th Time

House Republicans Announce On Twitter To Vote Against Obamacare For The 37th Time

The politics of obstructionism continued (Episode 37)

Because opposing the Obama administration’s Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as Obamacare for thirty-six times was not enough for House Republicans, they recently announced that they would vote to repeal it for the thirty-seventh (!) time.

Twitter battles as a new normal form of political communication

So far, so predictable. But here is where it gets interesting. In this age of ubiquitous social media technologies, leading politicians in the US—years ahead in this regard to, let’s say, German politicians— feel the need to engage in Twitter battles. Sometimes hilarity ensues.

As the Huffington Post reports, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor tweeted on May 8, 2013:

“The House will vote next week for a full repeal of #Obamacare.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) then attempted to hype it up a little more with the hashtag #ObamaCareInThreeWords

To which the White House replied:

“It’s. The. Law.”

Well-played, sir. Well-played.

But the fact that large parts of the Affordable Care Act are right now being implemented is not clear to everybody at the moment. According to NPR, a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly half of Americans do not currently know that the Affordable Healthcare Act is the law of the land.

Symbolic politics versus the 113th Congress in numbers

Unless Republicans in the Senate can convince a substantial number of Democrats to join them in voting against the Affordable Healthcare Act, the repeal they seek will not happen any time soon. As of May 2013, the distribution of seats in the 113th Congress is as follows: House: 233 (R), 201 (D); Senate: 55 (D) (53 (D)+ 2 (I)), 45 (R)

Maybe in the end, this is much ado about nothing. Still, it gives us an insight into how the new social media technologies are now being put to use for symbolic politics. In a way, they have joined their older peers of AM talk radio and cable television in the US.