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The rise of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter has allowed users worldwide to share original content with others instantaneously. While often criticized as celebrations of the mundane, a major function of social media services is to serve as forums for public discussion. By allowing users to share original content and respond to the content of other users in real-time, social media services have become increasingly important avenues for public discourse. Political figures and organizations have in recent years began to utilize social media to foster communication with the greater public, as well. Recently, social media services have also been widely used by political activists in Arab nations as tools to organize protests and broadcast first-person accounts of events on a global scale. In nations with government-controlled news services, global media outlets such as the BBC and CNN have also relied on user-generated content to bypass state censorship

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Timeline

05/31/2010: Pakistan court lifted Facebook ban.

06/06/2010: Bangladesh government lifted Facebook ban after removal of Muhammad caricatures.

02/08/2011: Syria lifted ban on social media sites Facebook, YouTube.

07/05/2012: UN Human Rights Council passed resolution to protect Internet speech.

11/01/2012: Russia Internet regulation law took effect.

12/28/2012: China adopted strict new rules on Internet providers and users.

01/15/2013: Citizen Lab published report on governments abusing Internet surveillance and censorship technologies.

03/21/2014: Turkish PM banned Twitter.

04/03/2014: Turkish authorities lifted Twitter ban following court ruling.

04/10/2014: Turkey reinforced YouTube ban despite court ruling.

 ...[more]

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