Obama, Twitter, and Chinese Censorship

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So President Obama has a Twitter account (@barackobama) that is rivaled in popularity only by Oprah Winfrey’s (@oprah).  The breaking story yesterday on TechCrunch and this morning in the Wall Street Journal, however, is that all of those followers on Obama’s Twitter account are being fooled.  He’s never used Twitter.

It’s not a conspiracy, folks.  He admitted it himself, publicly, and on the record.  Instead, the tweets on @barackobama are coming from his Twitter Czar, an unnamed White House press agent.  The worst part is that he didn’t admit all of this in front of the American people, but instead did so in front of a group of Chinese students in Shanghai.

I don’t know about you, but I think we Americans have been Shanghai’d.

I mean, what a gyp!  We’re being taken for patsies!  First, the Obama’s blatantly clone my dog to put in the White House and now this?  Come on, Mr. President!  Come clean!

Alright, in all seriousness, the real story here is Chinese censorship.  This is one of the major purposes of the president’s visit to Asia, with his first stop being China.  Much of the Internet is inaccessible in China because of government filters.

The WSJ article makes some good points.  The president’s speech, for instance, was not broadcast on the government-run network Xinhua nationally and those Chinese who were able to see Obama’s speech were either live in the auditorium or were there locally for the town’s television station broadcast.

The President emphasized U.S.-Chinese cooperation and political and economic relations, of course, but was continually back on the subject of censorship.  But I agree with Obama when he said “there are certain fundamental principles that are common to all people, regardless of culture.”

Freedom of information is the Internet’s ultimate part and parcel.  All people should be free to access information to make their own decisions, facilitate their own learning, and be empowered by it all.  I don’t think anyone can easily argue with that.


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