Iran bans Facebook

The BBC says that Iran has banned Facebook ahead of its presidential election. Reformist candidate Mir Husain Musavi’s supporters had created a Facebook page and were using it to campaign for their candidate.

Last year Egyptians used Facebook to campaign for political reform in Egypt, and, of course, it was an important part of the Obama presidential campaign. The Iranian security establishment is savvy about electronic threats to the regime’s authoritarianism. (Informed Comment itself is blocked in Iran).

However, of course, the smart thing to do would have been to encourage the other candidates also to use Facebook, thus levelling the playing field. Authoritarian regimes cannot imagine that everyone benefits from more peaceful political competition.

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