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[liberationtech] Wael Ghonim interview

Jillian C. York jilliancyork at gmail.com
Tue Feb 8 06:42:36 PST 2011


And just in time, here's a piece from the Register on how FB's policy
doesn't work for activists:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/02/08/faceboo_real_names/

On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 9:23 AM, Rebecca MacKinnon <
rebecca.mackinnon at gmail.com> wrote:

> As a footnote to this, Michael Anti, a famous Chinese blogger and former
> Berkman fellow, has had his account deactivated for not using his real name.
> (He never uses his real name in any of his professional capacities, online
> or off.) He appealed, and they said that while he's welcome to use the
> "alternative name" field so that people can see both his nom de plume and
> his real name, they cannot allow him to use "Michael Anti" as his sole
> identity on FB. He has objected to this strenuously, arguing that such a
> policy is very bad for activists in China and elsewhere.
>
> Chinese bloggers are of course speculating that FB's stepped-up real name
> policy enforcement has to do with FB's interest in entering the Chinese
> market. I have no way of knowing whether this is true.
>
> The moral of the story is this: Anybody using FB for activism should be
> sure to make regular (even daily) backups of all their content and contacts.
> If you're disabled for using a false name and you did in fact use a false
> name, you've got no rights under the terms of service. If you're disabled by
> mistake, a successful appeal is not guaranteed.
>
> In the medium term, activists who rely heavily on FB should be sure to have
> blogs and other online vehicles independent of FB that are more supportive
> of security and anonymity, and get in the habit of cross-posting to them -
> linking to them frequently in their FB pages, and making sure their core
> target communities know about these alternative online "home bases."
>
> In the longer term activists may want to think about working actively on
> building critical mass and momentum for successful activism in other parts
> of the Internet that are more friendly to anonymous and pseudonymous dissent
> - and supporting companies that are more activist-friendly.
>
> Best,
> Rebecca
>
>
>
> Rebecca
>
>
> On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 8:52 AM, Jillian C. York <jilliancyork at gmail.com>wrote:
>
>> I've been tracking instances of this in the Middle East and North Africa
>> as well as a few from China and Hong Kong passed on by a
>> contact similarly concerned.  It's unfortunately fairly common amongst
>> activists, and here's why: Facebook has made clear that anyone, including
>> celebrities (they used Lady Gaga as an example) must use their legal name on
>> the platform.  For ordinary folks, there's no reason to worry.  Activists,
>> on the other hand, are likely to have opponents.
>>
>> The problem there is that, when a Facebook user is reported for using a
>> false name (anyone can report another user), the incident is sent into a
>> queue to be reviewed by FB staff.  Staff then (this is according to
>> Facebook) review the account and determine whether to follow up.  In cases
>> where the name *looks* real, they may ignore the complaint.  Sometimes
>> they do, sometimes they don't; if they choose to proceed, they will often
>> deactivate the user's account, or ask for government identification.
>>
>> I've tracked about 50 instances of the latter, mostly in MENA (though
>> that's my area of focus, so I wouldn't say it's representative of any sort
>> of bias), but some in the US as well.
>>
>> Thus, I wouldn't say there's a pattern in authoritarian states, but
>> rather, there's a pattern with activists, who are targeted by their
>> opponents.
>>
>> I published this last September on the subject:
>> http://opennet.net/policing-content-quasi-public-sphere; there's a
>> section dedicated to Facebook alone.
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 8:45 AM, Steven Clift <clift at e-democracy.org>wrote:
>>
>>> So, how actively does Facebook enforce its real identity requirement in
>>> authoritarian states?
>>>
>>> How do they do this and how does enforcement compare with the U.S. for
>>> example?
>>>
>>> When I met with Somali NGOs in Kenya, it was stated that just about every
>>> active Somali on Facebook uses an alternative identity to be safer as well
>>> as to be listen to for what they are saying instead of being dismissed for
>>> being from x or y clan or organization.
>>>
>>> Steven Clift
>>>  On Feb 8, 2011 7:34 AM, "Jillian C. York" <jilliancyork at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> > I think it's worth pointing out a small inaccuracy in this piece:
>>> Ghonim was
>>> > one of many of the FB page's admins, is not the current admin, and did
>>> not
>>> > create the page originally.
>>> >
>>> > I say this not to diminish his work or the manner in which Egyptians
>>> view
>>> > him now (lots of tweets yesterday calling him a hero), but to point out
>>> that
>>> > he did not take credit for that, rather Hounshell attributed it to him.
>>> > Lots of others were involved in the creation and maintenance of that
>>> page,
>>> > many of whom have chosen to remain anonymous (and have thus suffered
>>> > Facebook's wrath again and again; recall the page going down in
>>> December for
>>> > that very reason).
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 12:14 AM, elham gheytanchi <
>>> elhamucla at hotmail.com>wrote:
>>> >
>>> >> just read this about him:
>>> >>
>>> >> A New Leader For Egypt's Protesters? - By Blake Hounshell
>>> >>
>>> >> CAIRO — Twelve days ago, Wael Ghonim posted a chilling message on his
>>> >> Twitter account. "Pray for #Egypt," he wrote. "Very worried as it
>>> seems
>>> >> that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We
>>> are
>>> >> all ready to die."
>>> >>
>>> >> And then he disappeared.
>>> >>
>>> >> One day later, a huge, angry crowd -- choking on tear gas and braving
>>> fire
>>> >> hoses, rubber bullets, and live ammunition -- overwhelmed thousands of
>>> >> black-helmeted riot police and surged into Cairo's central Tahrir
>>> Square,
>>> >> setting the stage for a standoff between protesters and President
>>> Hosni
>>> >> Mubarak that is well into its second week.
>>> >>
>>> >> Ghonim, a Dubai-based Google executive who hadn't been seen or heard
>>> from
>>> >> since Jan. 27, was freed on Monday, Feb. 7, after an international
>>> >> campaign for his release. "Freedom is a bless that deserves fighting
>>> for
>>> >> it," he tweeted shortly after 8 p.m., Cairo time.
>>> >>
>>> >> Ghonim appeared Monday evening on Dream 2, a private channel owned by
>>> >> Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, and gave a devastating, emotional
>>> >> interview that cut deeply into the image the Mubarak regime has been
>>> >> trying to paint of the protesters.
>>> >>
>>> >> Looking deeply shaken, his eyes haunted and voice breaking, Ghonim
>>> >> insisted, "This was a revolution of the youth of all of Egypt. I'm not
>>> a
>>> >> hero."
>>> >>
>>> >> Gaining strength throughout the interview, Ghonim said he wasn't
>>> tortured,
>>> >> but was kidnapped by four armed men, blindfolded, and questioned
>>> >> relentlessly about how the protesters pulled off the uprising (they
>>> "had
>>> >> no idea," he said). But later, when the host showed photographs of
>>> young
>>> >> Egyptians who have lost their lives over the last few weeks, Ghonim
>>> wept
>>> >> openly and then walked away, saying they died "because of those who
>>> cling
>>> >> to power."
>>> >>
>>> >> Many people here had speculated that Ghonim was the administrator of
>>> the
>>> >> "We Are All Khaled Said" Facebook page, set up to commemorate a
>>> >> 28-year-old youth who was brutally beaten to death on June 6, 2010, by
>>> >> police at an Internet cafe in Alexandria. It was the page's call for
>>> >> nationwide demonstrations across Egypt -- along with the spark
>>> provided by
>>> >> nearby Tunisia -- that lit the flame of revolution, activists say.
>>> What
>>> >> was so effective about the Jan. 25 protest was that "it was a clear
>>> call
>>> >> to action," said Nasser Weddady, civil rights outreach director for
>>> the
>>> >> American Islamic Congress in Boston. "Everybody wants to stop
>>> torture."
>>> >>
>>> >> In the interview, Ghonim admitted for the first time that he was
>>> indeed
>>> >> the voice behind the page -- though he said repeatedly that it was
>>> others
>>> >> "on the ground" who made it all happen. "I have been away for 12
>>> days."
>>> >>
>>> >> Ironically, by kidnapping, detaining, and then releasing Ghonim --
>>> >> instantly turning him into a nationwide celebrity -- the regime may
>>> have
>>> >> just created an undisputed leader for a movement that in recent days
>>> has
>>> >> struggled to find its footing, seemingly outfoxed by a government
>>> skilled
>>> >> in the dark arts of quashing and marginalizing dissent. Within minutes
>>> of
>>> >> his interview, his personal Facebook page had surged in popularity,
>>> and
>>> >> the tweets were coming so fast that #Ghonim briefly became a trending
>>> >> topic on Twitter.
>>> >>
>>> >> Ghonim's reappearance comes at a critical time for the protesters. Now
>>> >> that the galvanizing moment has passed, it's not clear where their
>>> >> movement goes from here. It's one thing to build a coalition against
>>> >> police brutality, something Egyptians of all classes have suffered
>>> from
>>> >> for decades; it's quite another to rally people around more complex
>>> >> demands, such as constitutional reform or media oversight. And after a
>>> >> week of nonstop propaganda on state television against the protesters
>>> --
>>> >> painted simultaneously as dangerous Islamists and Israeli agents --
>>> it's
>>> >> not even clear that an overwhelming majority of Egyptians want Mubarak
>>> out
>>> >> immediately, as the folks in Tahrir insist.
>>> >>
>>> >> For the protest movement, decentralization is at once the source of
>>> its
>>> >> power and its potential Achilles' heel.
>>> >>
>>> >> The organization that administers the square itself, it's important to
>>> >> understand, is a completely separate entity from the various other
>>> >> Facebook groups, political parties, and other movements that often get
>>> (or
>>> >> take) credit for the uprising. Ahmed Naguib, 33, a member of the
>>> >> 1,000-plus strong Tahrir organizing committee, told me that few of the
>>> >> volunteers who man the barricades, seek to root out regime
>>> infiltrators,
>>> >> staff the increasingly well-stocked field hospitals and pharmacies,
>>> and
>>> >> bring in supplies are "political" types -- as is the case with the
>>> roughly
>>> >> 100-member steering committee that more or less makes key logistical
>>> >> decisions. Many if not most of these people didn't even know each
>>> other
>>> >> before last week -- and they aren't necessarily activists. The ad hoc
>>> >> organizers have resisted efforts by some groups to secure
>>> representational
>>> >> seating in the inner circle of the steering committee, Naguib told me.
>>> >>
>>> >> It's true that some of the youth groups are in communication with the
>>> >> "Wise Men" -- the self-appointed council of elders that has offered
>>> itself
>>> >> up as a go-between with the regime -- but others complain that they
>>> have
>>> >> little visibility on those discussions and distrust an initiative that
>>> >> smacks of selling out those who gave their lives taking and defending
>>> the
>>> >> square. But the youth groups don't necessarily represent the
>>> unaffiliated
>>> >> masses in the square, either. Nobody I've spoken with, moreover,
>>> >> recognized the handful of "January 25 youth" who met briefly with Vice
>>> >> President Omar Suleiman on Saturday, nor the "Coalition of Angry
>>> Youth"
>>> >> who gave a news conference on Sunday, to give their view of the
>>> >> negotiations.
>>> >>
>>> >> Meanwhile, splits are emerging even within groups. Over the weekend,
>>> when
>>> >> the Army began moving its tanks further into the square in a bid to
>>> push
>>> >> the protesters south of the Egyptian Museum, dozens of young members
>>> of
>>> >> the Muslim Brotherhood rushed to lie in front of the tracks -- over
>>> the
>>> >> objections of a senior Brotherhood official. At a news conference on
>>> >> Sunday, senior leaders of the Islamist movement stressed repeatedly
>>> that
>>> >> they had "no special agenda," a clear attempt to head off criticism of
>>> >> their decision to negotiate with the regime.
>>> >>
>>> >> Inside Tahrir, different groups are gradually staking out separate
>>> >> geographic areas, with the Muslim Brotherhood dominating the megaphone
>>> at
>>> >> the southern end of the square, while the socialists have assembled an
>>> >> entire speaker system a few dozen yards west, and various smaller
>>> groups
>>> >> are sprinkled elsewhere.
>>> >>
>>> >> "Everybody here is organizing," said political analyst Hisham Kassem,
>>> "but
>>> >> there's nobody to negotiate with. We have no control over the square,
>>> and
>>> >> they don't either."
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >> ------------------------------
>>> >> Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2011 20:14:55 -0800
>>> >> From: marycjoyce at gmail.com
>>> >> To: liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
>>> >> Subject: [liberationtech] Wael Ghonim interview
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >> This interview with Wael Ghonim is absolutely critical to those hoping
>>> to
>>> >> understand the digital aspect of the protests in Egypt. Wael is the
>>> >> formerly imprisoned admin of the "We are all Khaled Said" Facebook
>>> group
>>> >> (also a Google employee) who is an influential figure in the democracy
>>> >> movement.
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> http://egypt.alive.in/2011/02/08/dream-tv-interview-with-wael-ghonim-part-2-with-english-subtitles/
>>> >>
>>> >> --
>>> >> MARY C. JOYCE
>>> >> Founder | The Meta-Activism Project | www.Meta-Activism.org<
>>> http://www.meta-activism.org/>
>>> >> Digital Activism Consultant | www.MaryJoyce.com<
>>> http://www.maryjoyce.com/>
>>>
>>> >> Mobile | +1.857.928.1297
>>> >>
>>> >>
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>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > --
>>> > Berkman Center for Internet and Society |
>>> > https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/jyork
>>> > jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Berkman Center for Internet and Society |
>> https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/jyork
>> jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244
>>
>>
>>
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>
>
>
> --
> Rebecca MacKinnon
> Schwartz Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
> Co-founder, GlobalVoicesOnline.org
> Cell: +1-617-939-3493
> E-mail: rebecca.mackinnon at gmail.com
> Blog: RConversation.blogs.com
> Twitter: @rmack <http://twitter.com/rmack>
> Facebook: facebook.com/rmackinnon
>
>


-- 
Berkman Center for Internet and Society |
https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/jyork
jilliancyork.com | @jilliancyork | tel: +1-857-891-4244
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