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July 18 2011

Mashable Weekend Recap: 29 Stories You May Have Missed

It was a weekend for the record books.

The FIFA World Cup Final made some big news this weekend with Japan beating USA in the final match Sunday. We saw tons of people commenting on the outcome of the game on their social channels, and as it turned out, Twitter users set a new record with the number of tweets sent per second.

Of course, we can’t forget about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 either. The final film in the Harry Potter franchise released in U.S. theaters late last week, but it continued to make news as the weekend progressed. Fans set a box office record for opening night and eventually box office records altogether.

And as far as useful resources go, we’ve got the ultimate guide to Google+, Google’s new social layer. You’ll find some other handy tools for Google+ too, including how to set up an RSS feed and how to follow Mashable staff.

News Essentials

Carmageddon Approaches: Here’s What It Will Look Like [VIDEO]

Netflix Heading to Europe in 2012 [REPORT]

LinkedIn Revamps Profiles for Students

The Rise of Mobile In-App Ads [INFOGRAPHIC]

This Week in Politics & Digital: Cyber Security in The Spotlight

Dual-Screen SpaceBook Laptop Up for Pre-Order [UPDATED]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Breaks Box Office Records

Is Google+ Becoming More Female?

Reaching 200 Million Accounts: Twitter’s Explosive Growth [INFOGRAPHIC]

Spacecraft Orbits Protoplanet in Asteroid Belt, a First [INFOGRAPHIC]

World Cup Finals: USA Loses to Japan, the Web Reacts [PICS]

World Cup Final: A New Tweets Per Second Record

David Beckham’s Baby Photo Debuts on Facebook [PICS]

Helpful Resources

HOW TO: Add Mashable Staff to Your Circles on Google+

19 Essential Google+ Resources

46 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Google+: The Complete Guide

Top 10 Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

5 Tips for Group Deals Success

5 Ways Journalists Are Using Google+

8 Crucial Elements of Startup Success

15 Rad Retro Office Accessories [PICS]

HOW TO: Make RSS Feeds for Google+ Profiles

Tips For Negotiating Employee Equity

Weekend Leisure

Can Web Video Views Predict Box Office Magic for Harry Potter?

Jerry Seinfeld Joins Twitter

Discovered a New Band? Find Out Which Songs To Check Out First With GoRankem

Android App Displays Brain Waves Via Wireless Headband [VIDEO]

3 New Digital Apps For Offline Fun

More About: Google Plus, harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2, Weekend recap, World Cup Final

For more Social Media coverage:

July 15 2011

5 Online Tools For Activists, By Activists

Susannah Vila directs content and outreach at Movements.org, an organization dedicated to identifying, connecting and supporting activists using technology to organize for social change. Connect with her on Twitter @susannahvila.

Why are social networks powerful tools for causes and campaigns? Many times, people begin to engage in activism only after they’ve been attracted by the fun stuff in a campaign — connecting with old friends and sharing photos, for example. When they witness others participating, they’ll be more likely to join the cause. With socializing as the primary draw, it’s become easier for organizers to attract more and more unlikely activists through social media.

But once a campaign reaches its critical mass, activists might think about moving to other platforms made with their needs — especially digital security — in mind. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter will remain standard fare for online activism. But the time is right for niche-oriented startups to create tools that can supplement these platforms. Here are a few worth investigating.

1. CrowdVoice

Similar to the social media aggregating service Storify, but with an activist bent, CrowdVoice spotlights all content on the web related to campaigns and protests. What’s different about it? Founder Esra’a al Shafei says “CrowdVoice is open and anyone is a contributor. For that reason, it ends up having much more diverse information from many more sources.”

If one online activist comes across a spare or one-sided post, he can easily supplement information. Furthermore, campaign participants can add anecdotes and first-hand experiences so that others can check in from afar.

CrowdVoice makes it easier for far-flung audiences to stay abreast of protests and demonstrations, but it also helps organizers coordinate and stay abreast of other activist movements.

2. Sukey

During London’s UK Uncut protests this year, police used a tactic called “kettling,” or detaining demonstrators inside heavy police barricades for hours on end.

In response, UK Uncut activists created a mobile app to help one another avoid getting caught behind the barricades. The tool, Sukey -- whose motto is “keeping demonstrators safe, mobile and informed” — helps people steer clear of injuries, trouble spots and violence.

Sukey’s combination of Google Maps and Swiftriver (the real-time data verifying service from the makers of Ushahidi) also provides a way for armchair protesters to follow the action from afar. Users can use Sukey on a browser-based tool called “Roar,” or through SMS service “Growl.”

3. Off-the-Record Messaging

Off-the-Record” (OTR) software can be added to free open-source instant messaging platforms like Pidgin or Adium. On these platforms, you’re able to organize and manage different instant messaging accounts on one interface. When you then install OTR, your chats are encrypted and authenticated, so you can rest assured you’re talking to a friend.

4. Crabgrass

Crabgrass is a free software made by the Riseup tech collective that provides secure tools for social organizing and group collaboration. It includes wikis, task files, file repositories and decision-making tools.

On its website, Crabgrass describes the software’s ability to create networks or coalitions with other independent groups, to generate customized pages similar to the Facebook events tool, and to manage and schedule meetings, assets, task lists and working documents. The United Nations Development Programme and members from the Camp for Climate Action are Crabgrass users.

5. Pidder

Pidder is a private social network that allows you to remain anonymous, share only encrypted information and keep close track of your online identity -- whether that identity is a pseudonym or not.

While it’s not realistic to expect anyone to use it as his primary social network, Pidder is a helpful tool to manage your information online. The Firefox add-on organizes and encrypts your sensitive data, which you can then choose to share with other online services. It also logs information you’ve shared with external parties back into to your encrypted Pidder account.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, onurdongel.

More About: activism, apps, demonstration, platform, protest, social good, social network, web

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July 04 2011

The History of America, As Told by Facebook [PIC]

In honor of Independence Day, The New York Times visualized America’s would-be Facebook profile in its Op-Art section, translating the history of the U.S. into Facebook’s iconic narrative structure.

The piece (below), “Like It or Unfriend It?” was created by novelist Teddy Wayne, Vanity Fair staffer Mike Sacks and designer Thomas Ng.

The graphic recalls a similar piece published by Slate‘s Christopher Beam and Chris Wilson in May, which chronicles recent U.S. events in an imaginary Barack Obama Facebook feed.

Last year the Washington Post published pieces of a real Facebook feed in “A Facebook Story: A mother’s joy and a family’s sorrow” to tell the tragic story of a young mother’s illness and subsequent death.

All three pieces acknowledge a new kind of plot structure told through the incremental and often brief updates we post on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Notably, all three pieces subvert the reverse-chronological order in which these updates are normally displayed.

Image courtesy of Flickr, ladybugbkt

More About: america, art, facebook, facebook page, social media, the new york times, united states

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Sends First Tweet

Vice President Joe Biden’s office sent out its first tweet on Independence Day.

Although the @vp Twitter account was created on June 28, the Vice President’s staff waited until July 4 to tweet: “VP & Dr. B [Dr. Jill Biden] hope you take time to think about our troops & military families this Independence Day, Happy 4th from OVP! @joiningforces.”

The White House Blog wrote that Vice President Biden’s office joined Twitter in preparation for the first ever Twitter Town Hall with President Obama, scheduled for this Wedensday at 2 p.m. EDT.

The tweeters behind the account promise to keep followers updated on the activities and news surrounding the Vice President’s executive actions and travels, as well as “a behind the scenes look at Veep-life.”

More About: Joe Biden, News, polics, social media, tweet, twitter, vice president

For more Social Media coverage:

June 24 2011

This Week in Politics & Digital: Politicians Go Local

us flag tech image

Presidential runs, battle states and gay marriage: This week ran the gamut of the political spectrum. Jon Huntsman, President Obama’s former ambassador to China, formally announced his presidential bid, presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty launched a website specifically courting Iowa voters, and New York State Senator Greg Ball turned to Twitter on the upcoming gay marriage rights vote.

Much has been made of social media’s role in national politics but we’re seeing it put to use more and more in local, targeted markets. Social media is becoming not just a way to reach the American public but to corner and engage special interest groups. Take a read and let us know what you think.

This weekly series picks out the week’s top stories in the intersection of digital technology and politics.

Jon Huntsman is Running for President

Jon Huntsman officially announced his president bid this week at Liberty State Park, New Jersey, the same site where President Ronald Reagan launched his own run in 1980. Huntsman’s name had been floating around the rumor mill. As the former governor of Utah and President Obama’s ambassador to China, he faces criticism for not following party lines, but could do well in a general election thanks to his moderate stances on same-sex couples, immigration and climate issues. Huntsman sent out a tweet Tuesday morning asking followers to tune in to his website for a live video feed.

Pawlenty Creates Site Just for Iowa Voters

pawlenty iowa image

Tim Pawlenty really wants to do well in the Iowa Straw Polls. So much so that he has created a website dedicated to courting and convincing Iowa voters that he’s their man. The Iowa Straw Polls in August are an informal barometer of a presidential candidate’s popularity. However, they are often give more weight because Iowa is such a crucial battleground state in national elections. The Ames Poll in particular is often seen as the first showing of a candidate’s organizational strength in the state. Pawlenty’s site encourages users to sign up and pledge their support with links to support lines and Pawlenty’s main election video.

What Would You Vote on Gay-Marriage Rights?

That’s exactly the question that New York State Sen. Greg Ball asked his Twitter and Facebook followers ahead of a major vote to approve gay-marriage legislation in New York. The bill is running with a slight majority, but Democrats and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are looking for moderate Republicans, like Ball, to show their support. Despite generally positive feedback, Ball decided not to vote in favor of the bill, Gothamist reported.

Lightning Round

Some quick updates on stories Mashable has been tracking:

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, Pgiam

More About: barack obama, jon huntsman, politics, presidency, President, president obama, week in digital politics

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June 02 2011

Mitt Romney’s Presidential Bid as Told by Social Media

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced his second presidential bid on Thursday.

In April, Romney used a YouTube video to announce the formation of an exploratory committee for a 2012 presidential bid. He tweeted his intention to announce his run last week, and he made it official in Thursday’s speech at a family farm in New Hampshire.

Although most of us couldn’t be at Scamman Farm ourselves, social media offers a glimpse of what the event was like.

[View the story "Mitt Romney's Bid For President As Told By Social Media" on Storify]

More About: 2012, Mitt Romney, presidential election, Republican, social media, Storify

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October 29 2010

4 Ways to Visualize Voter Sentiment for the Midterm Elections

Map Image

Elections ignite emotions. From inspirational campaign speeches to divisive community issues, political action compels citizens to share their feelings about candidates and issues from coast to coast.

The web has made information about these emotions and trends more available — but the challenge has been making it more accessible.

That’s why many sites are using data visualizations to present voter sentiment. The simple interfaces and fun interactive components make number-heavy data easier to understand and more compelling than a spreadsheet.

Here are four data visualizations worth checking out during the 2010 U.S. midterm elections.

1. The New York Times Race Ratings

Like most interactive graphics from The New York Times, these election maps and charts are beautifully designed. The user experience is the best of all the data visualizations listed here. States are color-coded by party with shading showing the likelihood that the leading party will win. Individual state profiles include smaller graphics breaking down previous election results by county. The Times makes it their own by including the FiveThirtyEight Forecast, showcasing politics reporter Nate Silver’s projections for each race.

2. PBS Mediashift Social Media Snapshot

The only visualization not in map form on this list is the Social Media Snapshot of 2010 Senate Races. This graphic takes some of the most interesting voter sentiment information out there and makes it easy for users to compare data sets they’re interested in viewing.

After a report from HeadCount.org showed that Republicans were more engaged than Democrats in this election cycle, Mediashift contributor Anthony Calabrese created it using Tableau Public, a free data visualization program.

The graphic includes a drop-down menu from which users can choose a state. Each candidate’s Facebook and Twitter followers are then compared in a bar graph. Beneath this is a chart showing more granular data for the top 10 races, including the percentage of followers each candidate gained from September to October.

3. The Huffington Post Election Dashboard

The Huffington Post has taken full advantage of its Pollster.com acquisition by creating extensive poll analysis graphics. Unlike other elections visualizations, these maps provide all information up front. Hovering over a state on the main map brings up linear charts showing data from the latest polls and those from the past year, as well as social media trends measuring candidate mentions from Facebook, Twitter and Google Buzz. Clicking on an individual state directs you to a page with a larger version of the latest polls graph, some with polling data from past years.

4. Washington Post 2010 Race Maps

With an already politically minded audience, The Washington Post developed a map chock-full of elections data. It provides historical results not only for the current races, but also for presidential races. Maps can be customized to show districts, primaries and races to watch. It’s most original in allowing users to sort data by race, age, poverty rate and percent uninsured.


If you’re interested in even more visualizations to track the upcoming elections, the following tools are definitely worth a look.

Though Google’s map focuses more on experts’ predictions than voter sentiment data, it’s worth checking out. You can compare expectations of top political opinions and find or contribute information about where to vote and what’s on the ballot in your area.

Foursquare plans to launch an interactive map on election night with data from checkins at polling places.

If this article wasn’t about the U.S. elections specifically, Guardian’s Data Blog would have made the list for its beautiful visualizations of poll numbers from overseas.

More Political Resources From Mashable:

- 17 Web Resources to Help You Decide on Election Day
- Social Media: The New Battleground for Politics
- How Political Campaigns Are Using Social Media for Real Results
- How Social Media is Changing the Way Government Does Business

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ermek

More About: data visualization, elections, foursquare, Google, List, Lists, maps, mediashift, politics, tableau, the new york times, the washington post, visualization, visualizations, web apps

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October 20 2010

17 Web Resources to Help You Decide on Election Day

Vote Key Image

Paul Blumenthal is senior writer at the Sunlight Foundation, where he blogs about transparency in government. You can learn more by signing up for useful updates at SunlightFoundation.com/join.

Midterm elections got you confused? There are plenty of social media tools and sites that might just help you make sense of what’s going on. Below is a collection of incredibly useful websites to provide you all the information you’ll need about candidates before you vote on November 2.

Find out who’s funding whom, candidates’ connections to lobbyists, the outside spending in each race, candidate views on all the issues, how they voted on bills and what ads are running.

This selection of sites is broken down into a few different sections to help you get at the issue you’re aiming for.

Read on, and get involved!

Editor’s Note: This list was put together by the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that creates and invests in websites leading the movement to push for open and transparent government. The sites marked below with an asterisk are either created by or supported financially by the Sunlight Foundation.


sunlight reporting group image

  • Influence Explorer *: Connect the dots from campaign contributors to every candidate running for Congress. You’ll soon be able to send a postcard from the site with a candidate’s campaign contributors and industry backers to convince your friends and family to learn more about the person they support.
  • Follow the Unlimited Money*: A real-time updated database on the unprecedented outside spending by groups that don’t disclose their donors — a must-follow this election season.
  • Party Time*: Who’s raising cash with a little help from lobbyists? Who held fundraisers in DC while campaigning on an anti-Washington ticket? Check out this highly praised database of political fundraisers to find out.
  • Poligraft*: Illuminate the connections between politicians, lobbyists and organizations in any article, blog post or press release via this site (and bookmarklet). Use it to share with others what you find.
  • OpenSecrets*: A comprehensive site to check the campaign contributions to a politician, which lobbyists used to work for them and what financial investments they’ve made.


Elections Map Image

  • The New Organizing Institute’s Guide to Voting: The go-to site for a state-by-state listing of the basic information every voter needs to know: polling places, voter registration, early and absentee ballots, and the names of all officials on the ballot.
  • Vote Easy: Evaluate which candidate’s view most closely matches your own with this state-by-state electoral guide.
  • State Vote: An easy-to-use site that allows you to quickly look up and evaluate the state-level elections, including legislative races and ballot initiatives. It contains incredibly detailed descriptions for ballot initiatives.
  • TurboVote*: Need help with early voting? Need a helpful reminder to vote on Election Day? TurboVote is here to help with user-friendly early and absentee voting help and a text and e-mail service that will remind you to get out to the polls.
  • TheBallot.org: Find and read voter guides sent out by various partisan and issue advocacy organizations. You can also add voter guides that you receive in your state.
  • Google Election Center*: Yet another resource providing precinct-level voting information including voting locations, registration instructions and ballot initiative information.


ad monitor image

  • Sunlight Campaign Ad Monitor*: The real background info on campaign ads, as reported by you. Check out who’s funding which ads, and help out by contributing details on ads that you’ve seen or heard.
  • Campaign Ad Database: The Huffington Post has been collecting political advertisements and posting them here. See more ads from candidates and outside committees as they fight it out in the air wars.


open congress image

  • PolitiFact: See if that controversial statement your senator or your senator’s opponent made was actually true — a key resource this election cycle.
  • FactCheck.org: Another fact-checking resource. Follow the ad wars between candidates, outside groups and parties to see which ad is telling the truth. The site also tracks statements made by candidates themselves.
  • OpenCongress*: Check out the legislative record of incumbent members of Congress running for re-election.
  • Project Vote Smart: This is a great resource for information on the legislative history, speeches and interest group ratings for all candidates at the federal or state level.

Which resources were most useful for you? Let us know in the comments below.

More Government Resources From Mashable:

- Social Media: The New Battleground for Politics
- How Political Campaigns Are Using Social Media for Real Results
- How Social Media is Changing the Way Government Does Business
- 5 Things the Library of Congress is Archiving Online
- How Open Data Applications are Improving Government

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, pagadesign

Reviews: iStockphoto

More About: election, List, Lists, midterm, political campaigns, politicians, politics, sunlight foundation

For more Social Media coverage:

October 06 2010

Nobel Laureates and Digital Entrepreneurs Discuss Global Issues

The Conference of Nobel Laureates has brought in a set of new media executives and entrepreneurs to discuss the Middle East, youth education, economic development and a sustainable approach to corporate leadership. The conference is being held at New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, Skype and Mashable. Join the livestream at 8 p.m. EST.

The 2010 Conference brings together Nobel Laureates in a variety of disciplines, including Professor Wiesel (Peace, 1986), Mario Malina (Chemistry, 1995), Roy Glauber (Physics, 2005) and Edmund Phelps (Economics, 2006) and leading entrepreneurs and advocates for change, including Arianna Huffington, Irshad Manji, The Economist’s Matthew Bishop and Mashable’s very own Pete Cashmore.

This year’s conference marks a change in attitude with the inclusion of young business leaders and entrepreneurs into the Laureate discussion. The new generation of business and media executives are an effort to match high thought with practicable, digital strategies.

A discussion between Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel and David Axelrod, Senior Adviser to Present Barack Obama will be livestreamed at 8 p.m., it is the final event of the two-day conference. The discussion between Wiesel and Axelrod will serve as a kind of summary and culmination of the two-day conference’s findings and debates. You can submit your own questions to the speakers via Twitter, email, and Skype.

Make sure to sign in at 8 p.m. to the livestream to hear Wiesel and Axelrod discuss the findings from this year’s conference and contribute your own questions to the conversation.

More About: 2010 conference of nobel laureate, david axelrod, elie wiesel, Nobel, nobel laureate, nobel prize, pete cashmore

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September 02 2010

10 of the Web’s Most Insightful News Infographics

New Infographic

A picture is worth a thousand words. But if you include an entire database, make it interactive, and add filtering options, the word-to-picture exchange rate is even better.

Infographics at their best are more than just pictures — they can provide new understandings, succinct summaries, or just plain old fun.

In that respect, reading newspaper archives isn’t the only way to get a deeper understanding of current events. Infographics can help us get a better grasp on what’s going on.

Check out these 10 visualizations to learn more about the news with a quick look.

1. Google’s Appetite for Acquisition

Last month alone, Google acquired social-search service Angstro, visual shopping search engine like.com, and social currency company Jambool. Google has been on an acquisition binge for some time, and it’s getting tricky to keep track of its appetite.

This graphic shows a timeline of Google’s activity in three categories: “Building Revenue Streams,” “Cutting Competition,” or “A Little of Both.”

2. Gay Marriage Chronology

The campaign for gay marriage has passed a multitude of milestones over the last decade. Unfortunately for those trying to keep track of them, the victories and setbacks vary drastically by state. Decisions are reversed and in some cases overturned by higher courts, which makes progress hard to track.

This map from the LA Times shows the status of gay marriage in each state by month. Click on a state for its most recent ruling or watch the country change from being legally similar in its treatment of same-sex couples in 2000 to sharply divided in 2010.

3. IED Attacks from Wikileaks’ Afghanistan War Logs

The frequency and fatality of IEDs (homemade bombs) in Afghanistan was highlighted when WikiLeaks published more than 90,000 secret documents about the Afghan war. Anti-war activists published this illustrative video that includes all of the incidents reported in these leaked documents.

4. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

On April 20, an explosion on a BP drilling rig started what has become the largest accidental oil spill in history. Despite numerous strategies that were deployed to plug the leak, it wasn’t capped until July 15.

This video graphic by New Orleans online newspaper NOLA wraps timeline, graphic, and cumulative damage data into one easy-to-digest piece of media.

5. CIA World Factbook Dashboard

The CIA World Factbook has always been a great resource for putting news stories into the context of their geographic location. But now it’s also easy to get the information at a glance.

The World Factbook Dashboard allows you to color code the countries of the world by population, population growth, infant mortality, agricultural GDP, industry GDP, services GDP, total GDP, GDP/inhabitant, or inflation. Clicking on a country zooms in for more information.

6. Geography of a Recession

This map from The New York Times illustrates not only which areas suffered the highest unemployment rate after the recession, but also offers the option to filter data by metropolitan areas, areas with housing bubbles, rural areas, and manufacturing centers.

7. Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Violence Map

The Wall Street Journal updates this map constantly with violent conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you want to learn about the day-to-day details of the war or understand its scope, there’s no better visual resource.

8. What Does the Health Care Bill Mean to Me?

Even if you read through every health care bill article, it could be hard to exactly pick out what the law would change about your insurance coverage and taxes. The Washington Post made it easy by providing this nifty tool. Input whether you have insurance coverage, your family size, your income, and your marital status, and it will tell you how health care reform will impact your life.

For the broader picture on healthcare reform, see this subway-style map from GOOD Magazine.

9. Obama’s $787 Billion Economic Stimulus Plan

The government is still busy spending much of the $787 billion it allotted for the economic stimulus in February of last year. This infographic effectively illustrates how that huge chunk of change is being distributed.

10. American Casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond

This chilling interactive graphic from USA Today simply illustrates the deaths in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Information seekers can search deaths by personal factors like name, age, gender, race, or home town as well as by military service details, date, cause, or place.

CNN has a more elaborate version here.

More Graphics Resources from Mashable:

- 5 Fab Twitter Follower Visualization Tools
- 10 Beautiful Social Media Infographics
- 5 Amazing Infographics for the Health Conscious
- 10 Essential Free E-Books for Web Designers
- 12 Beginner Tutorials for Getting Started With Photoshop

More About: afghanistan, bp, current events, gay rights, graphics, healthcare reform, infographics, iraq, News, oil-spill, stimulus, visualizations, wikileaks

For more Tech coverage:

August 19 2010

North Korea’s Newly Launched Twitter Account Banned by South Korea

kim banned

North Korea’s Twitter account, which started just last week, has been banned by South Korea’s state-run Communications Standards Commission because its tweets contain “illegal information,” according to South Korean National Security Law.

The banning marks a new digital front for the two embattled countries. North Korea’s official account is called @Uriminzok, loosely translated to “Our people/nation,” according to the AP. The site has racked up nearly 9,000 followers despite only tweeting 36 times.

According to reports (and an admittedly rough online-translator), most if not all of the tweets heap praise on North Korea while disparaging both the U.S. and South Korea.

North Korea also launched an official YouTube channel a month prior to its Twitter account under the similar moniker, “Uriminzokkiri.” Like its Twitter account, most videos border on propaganda promoting the value and virtues of North Korea while calling South Korea warmongers.

South Korea responded today by blocking the Twitter account, adding to its list of 64 other blocked North Korean-run and pro-North Korean websites, Shim Joo-hyung, a spokesman for the South Korean standards commission told the AP. Typing in the North Korean account brings up a warning when you try to access the site from a South Korean IP address.

urimzok image

The North Korean jump to Twitter and YouTube marks a new and confusing step for the nation’s “digital media strategy.” North Korea blocks nearly all Internet access to its population of more than 24 million citizens, meaning all that propaganda isn’t meant for the home team.

North Korea’s Twitter and YouTube accounts aren’t available to its citizens; instead, they seem designed to win favor and hearts in South Korea and abroad. It’s a point not missed by U.S. politicians: “North Korean government has joined Twitter, but is it prepared to allow its citizens to be connected as well?” tweeted Philip Crowley, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

Given the circumstances, it’s understandable that South Korea would take action, but to what degree do “national security” concerns trump online censorship?

This isn’t the first time that Twitter has been banned by a country. China currently bans the site, Pakistan recently lifted its own, and Iran has threatened to ban following the public outrage after its presidential elections last year. It’s interesting that South Korea has not blocked the entire messaging site, but has instead targeted its ban solely on the North Korean account.

The South Korean commission has no immediate plans to block the North Korean YouTube channel.

Is South Korea justified in banning this propaganda or are they infringing on freedom of speech?

Reviews: Internet, Twitter, YouTube

More About: ban, banned, North Korea, South Korea, twitter, uriminzok, uriminzokkiri, youtube

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