Iranian Blogs Dynamic During Election Protests

By John Kelly and Bruce Etling

While Twitter is getting a lot of attention in the current Iranian crisis, it’s good to know that the robust Iranian blogosphere also remains active in the face of the government’s interference with the Internet. The figure below shows new blog posts on blogfa.com, the dominant Iranian blogging platform, over the past three weeks. While some Blogfa users are outside Iran, the vast majority are inside. We can see significant, through sporadic, disruption of Iranian blogging for a period of about two and a half days beginning a day after the disputed election. After that, posting returns to roughly pre-election levels.

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What are bloggers talking about? A scan of text reveals high levels of discussion about politics. Many bloggers continue to link to websites supporting Mousavi (such as mirhussein.com), whereas linking to the main site supporting Ahmadinejad  emtedadmehr.com) has nearly stopped, including among conservative political bloggers.

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One harrowing story lately has been how the Revolutionary Guards have been posting pictures of protesters and asking readers to identify them. Perhaps hearteningly, the Guards’ site for this, gerdab.ir, is being linked to by a relative handful of bloggers [gerdab.ir map below], even among the conservative bloggers who mainly support Ahmadinejad. In fact, the site is being linked to by reformist bloggers, presumably calling out the practice, at nearly the same rate as the conservatives.

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As for Twitter, we see a dramatic rise in the number of Iranian bloggers linking to Twitter in the first 15 days after the election [first map below], as compared to the same period a month earlier [second map below]. Interestingly, this linking is localized to a cluster of the map featuring longstanding opposition (as opposed to merely “reformist”) and expatriate bloggers. As we showed in our paper last year, this is also the portion of the map that is most frequently filtered by the Iranian government.

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One Response to “Iranian Blogs Dynamic During Election Protests”

  1. Ein paar Links « Verbindungen Says:

    […] Und der immer informative “Internet & Democracy”-Blog ├╝ber die Blogs im Iran und das Internet in […]