An anonymous tip from a highly reliable source:
"There are checkpoints in Syria where your Facebook is checked for affiliation with the rebellious groups or individuals aligned with the rebellion. People are then disappeared or killed if they are found to be connected. Drivers are literally forced to load their Facebook/Twitter accounts and then they are riffled through. It’s happening daily, and has been for a year at least."
Anyone have any corroboration for this?
Okay, I know Silicon Valley and mass media is all about promoting how badass social networks are for mobilizing revolutions, but c’mon. I’m gonna call shenanigans on this.
Not to critique the IT Crowd of the U.S. State Dept. funded uprisings of the world, but—fuck it. Facebook and Twitter are not there to aid in the struggles of the masses. They’re corporations with motivations to collect, catalog, and sell user data for commercial purposes. These are the last resources I would use to motivate a movement.
We do a similar thing over here, by the way. Threaten a public official using a social network and see how long it takes to get caught. We automate the process and harbor a deep see something, say something mentality. Whereas Syrian stooges supposedly setup fucking highway checkpoints to have a would-be dissenter log into an account baddy authorities don’t even know a detainee has.
Easiest solution and best practices for self-radicalizing do-gooders: Don’t organize using in-secure networks built for marketing surveillance and data mining. There’re are myriad of solutions that would work better, no one talks about them. Firechat comes to mind, delete the app if you’re pulled over. Problem solved.
Lastly, to play devil’s advocate. Sure, I see the utility in something with the ubiquity of Facebook, Twitter, etc. Smart hash-tagging and easily digested/passed-on coding allows people to organize without the exclusivity of prerequisite technical expertise. For most folks savvy in regards to digital and mobile, social networks represent the public forums they so desperately desire. That said, they’re placing a lot of trust in people who just don’t care, leaving a paper trail to kindle a fire to burn them at the stake.