Friday, 25 February 2011

China has just blocked LinkedIn. Strict ban goes on Google, Facebook and Twitter

Internet cafe, China

The buzz on Twitter is that China has just blocked Linkedin. Is this the start of more things to come.

"Whether it was the social networks that caused the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings this winter is far from clear. The People’s Republic of China, however, is not willing to wait to learn its lessons in a postscript. It has instead chosen to enforce a strict ban on Google, Facebook and even Twitter, in anticipation of negative consequences following the ongoing public movement against the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak. It shows that the second largest economy in the world continues to trade cautiously as far as dissemination and control of the flow of information to its people is concerned. There is a need to analyse the reasons fuelling this paranoid reaction from the Chinese government. The logical answer would be that China is also witnessing a large number of domestic protests, and the government is thus is worried about the spillover effects of the protests on the streets of Egypt on the protests in China."
It looks like some members of the BRICS may be worried about the current revolutions across North Africa and the Middle East. Russia is in current talks with China about how to implement a more strict control of information, especially political content to its citizens.

China's efforts to reduce Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 activity are likely to be of extremely limited success. In a early evening test of major cities Shanghi China tweeting at 73 high Friday Evening and Beijing had roughly he same, which both compared favorably to Mumbai at the some time period, about 70 12 GMT. Penetration of tweeting in China is far higher than existed in the Arab world at the end of 2010, and there is more than enough social network infrastructure and redundant social graphs in place to support a revolt.

It is critical to remember that Social Networks and Web 2.0 and mobile Web 3.0 technology can only support a revolution. It will not cause one. The fate of China is not a great unknown as governments around the world try to come to terms with what is a happening to the world via social networks.

UPDATE: service returned to China LinkedIn on the 26th as reported by BBC. The quick return of service points out the difficulty in cracking down on Web 2.0 services. The economy of China is probably as dependent upon them as any other advanced nation, and to take something like LinkedIn down for more than a couple days would endanger the economy.

As Mubarak learned, the Internet is a danger when on, and can be even a bigger danger when off.

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