Monday, October 21, 2019

#WeWillSpeak : Egyptian Tweeps speak up about Twitter Middle East Selective Censorship

Hundreds of Egyptian tweeps began on Monday a new campaign on Twitter against Twitter MENA policies after a wide suspension of opposition and activists’ accounts in the popular social media network.

The Egyptian tweeps launched  #WeWillSpeak” and #هنتكلم hashtags to reach out for Twitter in the United States.

In the past three months, several opposition and political activists' accounts were either permanently or temporarily suspended allegedly for violating Twitter policies.

#WeWillspeak campaign logo 

Some accounts are allegedly suspended because some Tweeps used “harsh and bad language”.
I know a tweep who got a permanent suspension from two months ago because he used allegedly bad language in criticizing a film from two years ago. 

Some say that those tweeps and accounts use language and terms rejected by Twitter internationally like “faggots” and “pimps” in Arabic because of homophobia which I believe is not the real case because others are off the hook when it comes to homophobia and racism.

Not to mention, there are Twitter accounts that have been suspended temporarily for no real reason as its owners do not even use this kind of “bad language” in the first place like for instance the temporary suspension of Egyptian award-winning and bestseller author Ahdaf Soueif.

It is interesting that Twitter MENA is paying attention only to the bad language of the tweeps including activists opposing the government only in that crackdown.

On the other hand, we find right-wing Arab fascists and ISIS accounts as well as spammers are left untouched.

There are Pro-regime supporters who got several accounts and are involved in actions like harassment, trolling and spamming as well as spreading hate and racism on the same level of right-wing figures in the West.
They are left untouched
I reported dozens of accounts spreading lies, hatred and racism against Syrians and Sudanese people but there were not closed down.

I have reported dozens of accounts including some accounts that threatened me and even called protesters to harm me using my personal photo during the 2013 protests and nothing happened.

If they are closed down then they return back to Twitter but it is not the same case to opposition tweeps.

FYI Some opposition tweeps return back and use different handles making their profiles 
Twitter spamming is used by both the Egyptian regime supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood supporters too and yet there is no real action to counter the problem of spamming properly.
If you speak about false news, I am sorry there are mainstream newspapers and TV channels that report false news on their Twitter accounts and are not suspended for half an hour like activists’ accounts.
Needless to say, the fact that Twitter MENA is currently in Dubai made many Tweeps not only in Egypt but in other countries wonder if the Emirati government has got some kind of deal with Twitter to target dissident voice in the Arab world.

Do not blame the tweeps but this is the Middle East or rather the Arab world and news reports show that Dubai is not totally innocent when it comes to online trolling and false news production on Facebook.
Already there are calls to force Twitter to transfer its Twitter MENA Headquarter form the United Arab Emirates to Tunisia as the cradle of the Arab Spring enjoys more freedom of speech.
With my all due respect to Dubai at IT and media hub but when it comes to freedom of speech and thought, Tunis stands out.

A better choice , move Twitter MENA to a Non-Arab country like Malta or Cyprus to avoid any political conflict

A side note: I wish I could have added Cairo to this list of towns. Maybe one day it will.

Twitter has been the alternative forum for people to let their voices heard especially when mainstream media fails to do its job.
Unfortunately, it has been hacked internationally and not only in the Middle East by political and social powers that are actually against freedom of speech in the first place.

Yet some people believe it is worth to fight for including those Egyptian tweeps.

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