Social media helps governments monitor their citizens — but it also helps those citizens rise up

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Gigaom

The vast quantities of information we reveal about ourselves as we move around the internet and interact through social networks — what some have called the “data exhaust” of our lives, from GPS co-ordinates to the emotional signals sent by our Facebook (s fb) likes — is a treasure trove of information for anyone engaged in surveillance, whether it’s governments or the companies whose services we use to post all that information. But that same kind of behavior is also a powerful tool for allowing dissident movements to rise up against their oppressors.

That’s the lesson I took away from an excellent piece published on Medium by sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, a professor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who specializes in researching the effects of social media. Her work helped show just how crucial social media was in helping to foment what became the “Arab Spring” movements…

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