By JOE CERVONE
The Facebook and Twitter accounts of Egyptian citizens were silenced Thursday, Jan. 27, when President Hosni Mubarak shut down Internet communication within the country. The act was an attempt to stop protesters who were using social media websites as a means to organize and gather their political unrest against the government.
While government censorship of social networks isn’t uncommon in the Middle East, such an action by the Egyptian government only further illustrates the power websites like Facebook and Twitter have in connecting people.
As the world pushes on through the 21st century, we should pause and consider the magnitude in which the Internet and social medias have infiltrated our lives. What were once only fun ways to chat, connect over long distances, and share information are being harnessed for means that neither we as consumers or even the creators themselves could have ever anticipated.
In addition to social media websites, Egyptians have also been forced out of websites such as Google and YouTube, making communication extremely limited. As a nation, Egypt is likely to gain harsh international criticism for its decision to censor and for needing such an act to appease political unrest.
As websites like Twitter publicly announced being blocked by Egyptian authorities, one can’t help but wonder what role social media will play in future political turmoils, conflicts and wars.