Is Facebook Helping to Squash the Revolution in Iran?

With the increasingly bloody battle for Iran’s future raging on in Tehran, social networking Sites, like Facebook and Twitter, remain the primary source of news out of the country, whose government has effectively banned all established press from reporting.

Wisely, Twitter has done whatever it can to help maintain its service for the Iranian people, ensuring Twitter’s relevance in this new era of information sharing, if not in the history books. Facebook, on the other hand, has taken a different approach.

Meet Saeed Valadbaygi, author of the Website, Revolutionary Road and one of the primary ‘citizen journalists’ for the revolution currently going on in Iran. His extensive reports have been referenced and quoted repeatedly in the mainstream media, from Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish to MSNBC.

In addition to posting on his Site, Saeed uses both Twitter and Facebook to report everything from first hand experiences to videos from the frontlines in Iran, online, for the world to see.

But within the last few days, Facebook has twice threatened to cancel Saeed’s account, citing as the reason vague violations of their Terms of Service. After receiving the warnings, Saeed posted them to his Facebook page, without comment. Facebook then deleted the posts from his Site.

In response, a Facebook group, “in defence of Saeed’s activities on Facbook” [sic] is attempting to keep Facebook from canceling Saeed’s account. The group currently has more than 1,350 followers and is growing by the day.

To add to the complications, early Tuesday morning Saeed posted to his Facebook account that “The Iranian agents attacked Our home, attacked people there and keep looking for me across the country.” So not only is Saeed is under attack by Facebook’s ToS, but also the Iranian government.

This all begs the question, is Facebook acting on true violations of their Terms of Service, or are their reasons for threatening Saeed more politically motivated?

Whatever the answer, Facebook would be wise to not place itself on the wrong side of social journalism history, and leave Saeed alone.

UPDATE: I have removed the term “Green Revolution” from this article because, as Saeed expains on his new Facebook page, “‘Green Revolution’ is a contradiction in terms because green is the color of Islam, and the IRI IS an Islamic state. This label is a conscious attempt of right wing trends within opposition, mainly abroad, and various western govts to stop the actual revolution against the whole IRI. The uprising in Iran, and IN IRAN, hardly uses the green color anymore. That phase, i.e. anti-fraud movement, is way past”

Vote For Facebook Terms of Service, Now!
Vote For Facebook Terms of Service, Now!
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