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Are Political Leaders Willing to Stand Up for Facebook?

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, May 14 2007

There are two competing trends in online social technologies. One is that everyone from presidential candidates to up-and-coming musicians are scrambling to master MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Along the way, they're embracing a new openness that sees value in the networked public sphere. The second is that everyone from the U.S. military to universities are rushing to control the tools that those over whom they have dominion -- from soldiers to swimmers -- use to express themselves online. The Army is both cracking down on milbloggers and YouTubers, citing security and bandwidth; college administrators are banning athletes from Facebook, citing threats to school reputation.

The question for political candidates and political leaders in my mind becomes: you're willing to exploit the enormous potential of new social technologies to further your agendas, but are you willing to stand up for the right of the people you lead to use them?