Twitter and Iran – It’s Not About the U.S. Government

by on June 17, 2009 · 8 comments

It’s fascinating to continue watching developments in Iran via Twitter and other social media.

The fact that Twitter delayed a scheduled outage to late-night Tehran time was laudable, but contrary to a growing belief it wasn’t done at the behest of the State Department. It was done at the behest of Twitter users.

Twitter makes that fairly (though imperfectly) clear on its blog, saying, “the State Department does not have access to our decision making process.”

As my Cato Institute colleague Justin Logan notes, events in Iran are not about the United States or U.S. policy. They should not be, or appear to be, directed or aided from Washington, D.C. Any shifts in power in Iran should be produced in Iran for Iranians, with support from the people of the world – not from any outside government.

People are free to speculate that the State Department asked Twitter to deny its involvement precisely to create the necessary appearances, but without good evidence of it, assuming that just reflects a pre-commitment that governments – not people and the businesses that serve them – are the primary forces for good in the world.

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