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Discussion: In 2008 human rights groups and politicians condemned top Internet companies for complying with China’s restrictive laws and censorship requirements.  In response, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo signed a code of conduct intended to protect online free speech and privacy in restrictive countries and hoped other technology firms would follow suit.  But social media giants Twitter and Facebook are notably absent from the Global Network Initiative (G.N.I.) despite their large audiences and wide use by activists in the Middle East and elsewhere.  Thus far G.N.I’s recruiting efforts have been fruitless and the influence and credibility of this well-intended initiative wanes.

Source: New York Times

Date: March 6, 2011


Questions for discussion:

  • Given Facebook and Twitter’s major influence on the success of recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, does their participation in the G.N.I. now seem more relevant or less relevant?
  • Make a case for companies to choose self-regulation on a country-by-country basis versus direct participation in the G.N.I.


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