The Internet, Democracy, and Repression

The Web: Tool of Democracy or Repression?

Everybody knows that social media challenged or overthrew repressive regimes in North Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Everyone knows that the Internet promotes Democracy, right? Not so fast, says Evgeny Morozov.

Mr. Morozov emphasizes that networked digital tools can be used to maintain political power as well as challenge it, and recently spoke to the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) about this. The video of his complete lecture is here, but this short animated excerpt is easier to follow and more fun:

Video by Cognitive Media for RSA Animate. 



“We need a serious critique of net activism,” Cory Doctorow, The Guardian

“The Twitter Revolution That Wasn’t,” Anne Applebaum, Washington Post

“Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go,” Evgeny Morozov, The Guardian

 “The Internet: Foe of Democracy?” Jonathan Shaw, Harvard Magazine

 “Social media and the internet do not spread democracy,” Andrew Keen, Daily Telegraph

“Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted,” Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

“Evgeny Morozov: How the Net aids dictatorships,” TED video [11:53] (running notes here)


Top image (“Louis Philippe, King of the French, Posting to His Blog, after Franz Xaver Winterhalter”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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One Response to “The Internet, Democracy, and Repression”

  1. Mike Licht Says:


    “The Mash of Civilizations,” Niall Ferguson, Newsweek

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