Embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has taken what many observers perceive to be his last throw of the dice in a desperate attempt to fend off protests and cling on to power – by restoring access to internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter for millions of Egypt’s citizens.
President Mubarak has seen his Presidency come under intense pressure in recent weeks as disgruntled Egyptians take to the streets to demonstrate against the 30-year rule of Mr Mubarak, with anger intensifying following the death of dozens of citizens at the hands of state security forces.
Internet access was heavily restricted in the aftermath of the first wave of protests last week as the government attempted to quell the flow of information leaving the country through social media platforms. However, sources close to President Mubarak suggest that the leader has performed a u-turn and now believes that granting the public access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be the most effective way of getting them off the streets.
“It is well-known that the more access people have to Facebook and Twitter the less time they tend to spend protesting and fighting on the streets,” said the government source.
“People generally find that updating their Facebook status is more important than over-throwing a megalomaniacal government.”
George Osborne’s words that “we are all in this together” will extend into the social networking sphere with his announcement that Tweets will be 10% shorter as a result of measures to be implemented in the government’s Spending Review. As of January 2011, all Tweets posted on the social networking site Twitter will be limited to 126 characters.
Critics are already lamenting the move as another attack on the unemployed and those in low-paid jobs.
The 1866 Russian classic will be serialised on Twitter from November
The Dostoevsky classic tale of the moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov is to be re-worked for the enjoyment of the social networking generation. The novel, which centres around Raskolnikov’s murder of a pawnbroker for money in the belief that he can counterbalance the crime with good deeds, will be serialised across Twitter and Facebook from November.
A Twitter page has already been created for the revolutionary project, with the group behind it intending to post around four Tweets every hour, with the aim of eventually committing the entire novel to Twitter.
The Facebook page will allow readers to interact with the characters, giving them the opportunity to ‘like’ Porfiry’s suspicions or to create groups in support of Sonya’s predicament.
The men behind the project hope that by introducing classic literature to youngsters through the medium of 140 character Tweets they will go on to explore further forms of writing, perhaps even in book form.