Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | Author:

Another aspect of the friend list controversy has been its impact on political activism in oppressive regimes. In an interview with PC World, Facebook seemed to claim that the new friend list policy would somehow aid dissident movements. A spokesperson said, “We believe that Facebook, as demonstrated during the Iran elections and events in multiple other countries since our inception, plays a critical role in allowing people to communicate, organize and stand up against oppressive regimes and there is real value of connecting and sharing, which is what we’re trying to facilitate.”

However, an anonymous ZDNet commenter offered an altogether different perspective:

A number of my friends in Iran are active student protesters of the government. They use Facebook extensively to organize protests and meetings, but they had no choice but to delete their facebook accounts today. They are terrified that their once private lists of friends are now available to “everyone” that wants to know. When that “everyone” happens to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and members of the Basij militia, willing to kidnap, arrest, or murder to stifle dissent, the consequences seem just a bit more serious than those faced from silly pictures and status updates.

Read the whole thing at EFF.

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