For more than a decade, political analysts have touted the potential of the Internet to act as a force for freedom and democracy in the world. These analysts rightly maintain that access to information is a prerequisite for building an open society.
Over the last two years, Twitter and Facebook have emerged as powerful tools for helping citizens across the world to communicate and organize. Nowhere has the impact of social media been more strongly felt than in Egypt, where Twitter and Facebook played a significant role in the protests that resulted in the removal of the previous administration.
Moving forward, a technical arms race is already shaping up between the key social media players who want to facilitate the free-flow of information and entrenched political players who believe they have an incentive to restrict communication amongst their citizens. Only time will tell how this will play out, but, if history is any judge, political leaders may find information to be a difficult beast to cage.
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