US State Department Reschedules Twitter Maintenance Due to Iran Primetime

Reuters are reporting that the US State Department stepped in and asked Twitter to postpone maintenance in order not to disrupt service during Iranian daytime.Twitter, in their blog post explaining the rescheduled downtime, said...

Reuters are reporting that the US State Department stepped in and asked Twitter to postpone maintenance in order not to disrupt service during Iranian daytime.

Twitter, in their blog post explaining the rescheduled downtime, said

...our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran. Tonight's planned maintenance has been rescheduled to tomorrow between 2-3p PST (1:30a in Iran).

Proof of the disruptive power of Twitter, but is the service sowing seeds of discontent and confusion, or providing an accurate and valuable information flow?

Statistically the election looks reasonably clean so far as this post by Nate Silver discusses, although it is far from clear what is going on in Iran.

This brings up an important point again however: the mob law mentality that can sweep 'grapevine' communication services such as Twitter can be used and misused in all sorts of ways.

As I wrote recently:

For every charity fund raising network effect on Twitter ... there is the equal possibility of mobilizing a mob to go and raise a ruckus or worse...

The network effect can be used to seriously destabilize just about anything or anyone regardless of the accuracy of information, and that is a chilling thought. Pittura infamante, a form of defamatory visual representation in Renaissance Italy and Fatty Arbuckle's character assassination by the press are good historical examples of the heat of the moment destroying people regardless of information accuracy.

Twitter is a powerful tool for mob rule with plenty of room for unintended consequences, manipulation and Chinese Whispers...

Update: all Twitter & social network users are being asked to change their settings so their location is TEHRAN/ time zone GMT +3.30. Iranian security forces are hunting for local bloggers using location and timezone searches. If everyone become ‘Iranians’ it is much harder to find them.

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