freedom of expression
The purpose of this report is to look at the increasing trend for internet intermediaries to be used to police and enforce the law on the internet and even to mete out punishments. As well as undermining the fundamental rights of freedom of communication, privacy and right to a fair trial, this approach is serving to create borders in the online world, undermining the very openness that gives the internet its value for democracy and, indeed, for the economy.
The recent protests and uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have both been called “Twitter revolutions” and “Facebook revolutions” due to the widespread use of user-generated content (UGC) disseminated over social networks like Facebook and Twitter by protesters, activists and supporters of the protests, as well as by those following the events around the globe. This report investigates the usage and role of UGC and social networking websites in the recent protests and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as well as other cases outside of the region.