Information and Disinformation from Tehran

Al Jazeera reports on both the protests in Iran and the phenomenon of cellphone video footage and photography spreading all over the Internet. (View on YouTube) There’s an interesting opposition in the report: dispatches from established media can be located on a map and, therefore, verified; cellphone images come from everywhere, which is to say nowhere. This is particularly true now that foreign journalists have been banished. The New York Times‘ Lede Blog, written by a reporter who clearly has never set foot in Tehran, is openly struggling with trying to situate the images it’s getting from anonymous sources in the city.

Twitter is also placeless and, therefore, potentially false. The government can intercede and spread disinformation, but it can’t stop the flow of text. Today Persiankiwi, the best Twitter feed from Tehran, warned “high level of false information on twitter quoting us – BEWARE.” They’ve now started prefacing Tweets with “confirmed” or “unconfirmed.” Of course, that could be disinformation as well.

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