Weekend Project by Google, Twitter, and SayNow Allows Egyptians to Tweet by Phone

by Matthew L. Schafer

Although Egyptians are suffering from a downed Internet (save satellite connections and other circumvention) and downed cell phone service, Google and Twitter are working to give Egyptians access to Twitter.

The new program developed with the new Google acquisition SayNow allows Egyptians to call the SayNow number from a landline.  Those calls are then linked to on Twitter with the hashtag #Egypt.

“We worked with a small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company we acquired last week, to make this idea a reality,” Google said in its blog.  “It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers.”

You can listen to the tweets at the Speak to Tweet Twitter account.  One person who used the new function left a recording which said, “So many people have been killed already and injured.  We have achieved so much so far.  We cannot go back.  We will win.”

The new product comes just a few days after Twitter released a press release titled “The Tweets Must Flow.”  In the release, Twitter reaffirmed its belief in a free and open discourse.

“The open exchange of information can have a positive global impact. This is both a practical and ethical belief. On a practical level, we simply cannot review all one hundred million-plus Tweets created and subsequently delivered every day,” Biz Stone wrote.  “From an ethical perspective, almost every country in the world agrees that freedom of expression is a human right.”

This is just another example of how governments cannot plug all information leaks.  There are simply too many avenues that governments cannot control.  So for now let the information flow.


About Matthew L. Schafer

Matthew L. Schafer graduated from the University of Illinois in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Media Studies. He later attended Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication where he earned a Masters of Mass Communication and Georgetown University Law Center where he earned his J.D.
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